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.

Lachenalia species blue

There is insufficient data to positively identify this plant but three possibilities, all from South Africa, are suggested under Notes.

Horticultural & Botanical History

No data.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.294/1845].


Lachenalia orchioides (L.) Ait.  A bulbous perennial with strap-shaped leaves, sometimes spotted green, and dense spikes of semi-erect, lightly fragrant, blue- or purple-shaded flowers in late winter or spring. The variety glaucina is less strongly scented than the species. To 40cm.  ‘A very handsome species of Lachenalia [L. glaucina], for the possession of which the Glasgow Botanic Garden is indebted to Baron Ludwig, of the Cape of Good Hope.  There are two varieties, of which the principal figure here given represents the original species of Jacquin, with spotless leaves and scape, and which, with us, has the palest and bluest flowers (always changing, however, to lilac as they fade): while the other has its leaves and scape spotted, and the flowers are, even in their youngest state, more inclined to lilac or rose colour.  Of the latter kind a single flower is given at fig. 5.  Its flowering season in this country is August.’  [BM t.3552/1837]. [CECB].  Introduced to Britain in 1752.  [JD].

Lachenalia purpureo-caeruleo Jacq.  Flowers bell shaped, white and purplish-blue with brown markings and sweetly scented.  [CECB].  It was first flowered in Britain by Williams, nurseryman of Turnham Green and figured in the Botanical Repository.  [ABR pl.251/1802].  Jacq. IPR pl.388/1781-93.  This plant is illustrated.

Lachenalia viridiflora W.F.Barker, very rare in the wild, has turquoise flowers.  I am unsure of its date of introduction to Europe or Australia.

Published Jan 07, 2010 - 02:23 PM | Last updated Jan 07, 2010 - 02:29 PM

The full plant is illustrated, bulb, strap-like leaves and turquoise flowers.  Jacqin IPR pl.388, 1781-93

Lachenalia purpureo-caeruleo Jacq. | Jacq. IPR pl.388/1781-93 | BHL

Family Hyacinthaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

Common Name

Cape cowslips

Name in the Camden Park Record

Lachenalia sp. blue 

Confidence level low