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 retusa Salisb.

Ixia retusa is now regarded as a form of Ixia scillaris L. which see.  It is separated here under the name retusa to emphasise the varietal differences.  According to Johnson’s Dictionary the flowers of retusa are light yellow.  [JD].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

The plant figured as Ixia polystachya, synonym Ixia retusa in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine has pink flowers.  ‘The above species [Ixia polystachya] is here separated from Ixia scillaris, under which we had left it as a variety in our 542d article [BM t.542/1801].  Besides, in the characters above detailed, this further differs from that in being a taller slenderer plant with much narrower grass-like leaves, having a far shallower lateral excision and never curled or undulate; Rachis less flexuose, fewer flowered, flowers fragrant with their segments regularly and equidistantly disposed; tube proportionably longer; stigmas more cleft and their funnel- or club-form nearly obsolete.  Each varies with white and with paler flowers.  Both remarkable for a proportionately small regular subglobular bulb with a dark brown covering, for their funnel-shaped hiant stigmas, which should be observed with a glass, both commonly 2-3-4-branched.  The flowers of our specimen were unusually large and the stem simple.  This flowers in May, scillaris in January or February.  Our drawing was taken from an imported bulb at the Nursery of Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes, Kensington.’  [BM t.629/1803].

History at Camden Park

Ixia retusa is first recorded in an Addendum to the 1843 catalogue and then only in the 1845 edition.


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

Published Nov 14, 2009 - 12:41 PM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 04:34 PM

Figured are sword-shaped leaves and pale pink flowers with a white mark in the centre.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t. 629/1803.

Ixia retusa Salisb. | BM t.629/1803 as Ixia polystachya | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Ixia scillaris L.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Ixia retusa 

Confidence level high