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.

Lychnis chalcedonica L.

Fully hardy, erect, stiff perennial with umbel-like cymes of star-shaped scarlet flowers in summer. White and double garden cultivars are available.  To 1.2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The scarlet lychnis appears to have been a great favourite with Parkinson, he calls it a glorious flower, and in a wooden print of him prefixed to his Paradisus Terrestris, we see him represented with a flower of this sort in his hand of the double kind.  It grows spontaneously in most parts of Russia, and is one of our most hardy perennials.  The extreme brilliancy of its flowers renders it a plant, in its single state highly ornamental; when double, its beauty is heightened, and the duration of it increased.’  [BM t.257/1794].  Introduced to Britain in 1596.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [H.134/1843].


Published Feb 01, 2009 - 02:39 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 02:36 PM

The image shows a rounded umbel of many small, scarlet flowers.  Curtis's botanical Magazine t.257, 1794.

Lychnis chalcedonica L. | BM t.257/1794 | BHL

Family Caryophyllaceae
Region of origin

European Russia

Common Name

Scarlet lychnis, Maltese cross, Jerusalem cross

Name in the Camden Park Record

Lychnis Chalcedonicus 

Confidence level high