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.

Nivenia corymbosa Bak.

Fibrous root stock, linear leaves on long, branched stems and sweetly-scented blue and yellow flowers on a much-branched, many-flowered inflorescence.  [RHSD, Grey].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Few plants are more pleasing in the colour, or more lasting in the duration of their blossoms. […] It was introduced about the year 1803 by Mr. Hibbert.’  [LBC no.254/1818].  ‘A new species, probably the first of the genus ever cultivated in our European gardens.’  [BM t.895/1805].  ‘Although introduced into Britain many years ago, it does not appear to be in cultivation now.’ [Grey].  MB p.269/1836.

History at Camden Park

Only listed in the 1843 catalogue, the earlier introduction probably lost as it was included among desiderata to Loddiges’ nursery, 6th January 1845.  [MP A2933-2 p.28].  Witsenia corymbosa was ticked in a copy of the Horticultural Register, November 1831.  Although this originally belonged to James Bowman, it is likely that this plant was grown by members of the Macarthur family earlier than 1843.  [N.Herb.L. copy].  


Published Feb 15, 2009 - 04:32 PM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 05:07 PM

The image shows a tuft of lance-shaped leaves and umbel of blue flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.895, 1805.

Nivenia corymbosa Bak. | BM t.895/1805 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Witsenia corymbosa Ker-Gawl.
  • Aristea corymbosa Benth. & Hook.f.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Witsenia corymbosa 

Confidence level high