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 viridiflora Lam.

Cormous perennial with linear leaves and spikes of 12 or more bluish-green flowers with blackish centres in spring to early summer.  To 100cm.  [RHSE, CECB, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The flowers are exceedingly beautiful; they are of a most soft and agreeable, but very unusual colour.’  [LBC no.1588/1829]. 

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figures Ixia maculata var. amethystina, with whitish flowers with a deep blue centre [BM t.789/1804] and Ixia maculata var. viridis, shown with green flowers with a purple centre.  ‘Found by Thunberg flowering in October by the sides of rivers and brooks in the Roode Zand Valley, many days journey from Cape Town.  Had we seen none but the large sub-variety (if we may so call it) common in our gardens, we might possibly have been led to have considered our plant as a separate species; but during the inspection of some hundreds of spontaneous and garden specimens, we have seen it in all the phases usual to this changeable species; as also without the stain, which, as erecta differs only from maculata by the large stain at the base, must be referred to the former.  It propagates freely both by seeds and offsets, is not very tender, never expands but in clear weather and when protected from the wind.  Preserves its beauty if carefully dried.’  [BM t.549/1802]. 

The Botanical Register figures Ixia maculata var. caesia, described as the ‘green-spotted French-grey Ixia’.  As illustrated the flowers are grey with a distinct green centre.  [BR f.530/1821].  Introduced to Britain in 1780.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.286/1843].  Received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831 under the name Ixia viridis and Ixia viridis maculata.  [MP A2948].


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

Published Nov 14, 2009 - 12:49 PM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 04:33 PM

Figured are sword-shaped leaves and green salverform flowers with a dark centre.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.549, 1802.

Ixia viridiflora Lam. | BM t.549/1802 as Ixia maculata var. viridis | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

south Africa, Cape district

  • Ixia maculata L. var. viridis
  • Ixia viridis Thunb.
  • Ixia maculata L. var. amethystina
  • Ixia maculata L. var. caesia
  • Ixia spectabilis Salisb.
Common Name

Green Ixia

Name in the Camden Park Record

Ixia viridiflora 

Confidence level high