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 coronata Thunb.

An erect biennial or perennial with ovate leaves and brick-red or salmon, sometimes white flowers.  To 45cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Introduced to Britain in 1774.  [PD].  ‘The rich and elegant blossoms of this Chinese or Japanese beauty, possess a flatness and stiffness, which gives them an artificial air, to which their colour, which is exactly that of common red lead, may perhaps somewhat contribute; they make their appearance towards the close of the summer, and as many (when the plant is in health and vigour) are produced on the same stem, they continue a considerable time in bloom; its root is perennial, and its stem, which rises to the height of about two feet, herbaceous.  We remember to have seen this plant in the collection of the late Dr. Fothergill at Upton, about the year 1774, by whom it was first introduced to this country: Kaempfer, the celebrated Dutch traveller, who saw it growing in Japan, gives a very short description of it in his Amaenitates exoticae, and mentions a variety of it with white flowers: Professor Thunberg, who saw it also in its wild state, as well as in the gardens of that country, confines himself to describing the plant more at large: Professor Jacquin, in his Icones, has given an admirable figure of it.  Persons here differ in their mode of cultivating this species of Lychnis, some treating it as a stove others as a greenbouse and others as a hardy herbaceous plant; the latter  mode is to be preferred, provided care be taken to plant it in a sheltered situation, and to guard it against the inclemency of particular seasons: it is propagated by parting its roots, also by slips, and cuttings, but in this business more than ordinary care is required to be successful.’  [BM t.223/1794].  ‘I regret that the history of this most beautiful plant is unknown to me, further than that it was received at the Glasgow Botanic Garden, (where it flowered in a warm open border in September, 1835,) from Mr. Booth of Hamburgh, under the name here adopted, and evidently intended to commemorate the services, rendered to Science and Botany in particular, of Dr. Alexander Bunge, who not only accompanied Professor Ledebour in his celebrated travels in the Altai, but was attached to the Russian mission which went to Pekin, during which he collected many plants in the north of China.  From the circumstance of that species of Lychnis, which is perhaps the most nearly allied to it, (L. grandiflora, Jacq. L. coronata, Thunb., and Curt. Bot. Mag. t.223,) being a native of China and Japan, I had hoped to have found some account of the present among among the plants that have been described of those two countries: but none appears, and I am therefore ignorant both of the region of which it is a native, and of the name of the Botanist to whom we are indebted for its discovery. * Since the above was written, Dr. von Fischer informs me, that it was found by Dr. Bungo in a garden at Pekin: but its native country was not known.’  [BM t.3594/1837 as Lychnis bungeana]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [H.135/1850].


It is likely that this plant is the same as that listed by Macarthur as Agrostemma coronaria, [Lychnis coronaria (L.) Desr. which see].  Lychnis coronata Thunb. was described as Lychnis coronaria by Franchet and Savatier in 1873.

Published Feb 01, 2009 - 02:28 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 02:36 PM

Depicted is an upright shoot with a 5-petalled, fimbriated orange flower.  Curtis's botanical Magazine t.3594, 1837.

Lychnis coronata Thunb. | BM t.3594/1837 as Lychnis bungeana | BHL

Family Caryophyllaceae
Region of origin

China, Japan



  • Lychnis coronaria Franch. & Sav.
  • Lychnis grandiflora Jacq.
  • Lychnis bungeana Fisch. ex Lindl.


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Lychnis coronarius 

Confidence level low