Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Ixia patens Ait.

Cormous perennial with up to 7 linear to lance-shaped leaves, to 35cm long and often with a prominent margin, and a lax, branched flowering stem, to 50cm, bearing up to 15, pink, rose-purple or crimson, rarely white, flowers in spring.  [RHSD, CECB].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This is from the Cape of Good Hope: it was introduced in 1779.  It flowers in the month of June, and the blossoms are very rich and beautiful.’  [LBC no.1142, 1826]. 

‘This very shewy Ixia, the brilliancy of whose flowers it is impossible to imitate by art, is a native of the Cape, and has been of late years imported from Holland by the name of Ixia kermesina; but was, as we are informed by Mr. Aiton, first introduced into this country by the late Dr. William Pitcairn in the year 1779.  It varies much in the breadth and length of the segments of the limb, and in colour from a deep crimson to a light vermillion; in the length and breadth of the leaves, which are sometimes nearly lanceolate, at others linear-ensiform, sometimes nearly equal to the stem, sometimes not half the length.  Some varieties have, as in our figure, a small greenish star at the base, in others the colour is uniform.  All are scentless and flower nearly at the same time.  It varies also much in the number of flowers, and the scape is sometimes simple, at others a little branched.’  [BM t.522/1801].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.283/1843].


See also Ixia longituba N.E.Br.

For further discussion of Ixias see Ixia hybrid ‘Calypso’.

Published Nov 13, 2009 - 05:06 PM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 04:34 PM

Figured is a narrow sword-shaped leaf and bright red flower with a paler centre.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t. 522/1801.

Ixia patens Ait. | BM t.522/1801 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Ixia aristata Schneev
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Ixia patens 

Confidence level high