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.

Micranthus alopecuroides (L.) Rothm.

Frost-tender cormous perennial with lance-shaped or linear leaves and a sometimes branched stem bearing numerous, small, irregular, slightly scented, individually inconspicuous pale to deep blue flowers, the outer lobes sometimes tipped with red, in summer.  To 40cm.  [RHSD, CECB].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘[Flowers] dark blue with a sagittate base.  Said to vary with white flowers.  Scentless.  Like Watsonia spicata, sometimes produces small oblong bulbs, 1-3, in each spathe instead of flowers, these germinate when fallen off.  Found by Thunberg near the town, at Swellandam, in Carro, and sometimes in the high-roads.  Our figure was taken from a plant received some time since from the Cape, with many others, by Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes, at Kensington.  Introduced into the royal gardens at Kew in 1774, By Mr. Masson.  This the smallest of the tribe yet known.’  [BM t.553/1802].  Introduced to Britain in 1774.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.450/1845].  In Macarthur’s possession since at least 1844 as bulbs were sent to Wm. Macarthur Esq. in February of that year.  [MP A2948-3].


Published Nov 16, 2009 - 02:34 PM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 05:03 PM

Figured are leaves and dense spike of small blue flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.553, 1802.

Micranthus alopecuroides (L.) Rothm. | BM t.553/1802 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Watsonia plantaginea Ker-Gawl.
  • Gladiolus alopecuroides L.
  • Ixia alopecuroides (L.) L.f.
  • Micranthus plantagineus (Pers.) Ecklon.
Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Watsonia plantaginea 

Confidence level high