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.

Orphium frutescens L.

Erect shrub with linear leaves and red flowers in showy cymes.  To 60cm.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This plant should be placed in an airy glad case in winter, where it may enjoy a dry air, and much sun, but will not thrive in a warm stove, nor can it be well preserved in a common greenhouse, because a damp moist air will soon cause it to rot.’  [BM t.37/1788 as Chironia frutescens]. 

‘Mons. Ventetat, in his accurate work, distinguishes this Chironia from the frutescens. […] it has long been known in our nurseries by the name of latifolia.  [It] is a very ornamental greenhouse shrub, occupying but little space and continuing long in bloom.  [BM t.707/1803 as Chironia decussata].  BM t.818/1805 as Chironia angustifolia.  Introduced to Britain in 1756.  [JD].  

History at Camden Park

The only record is a handwritten note in an 1850 catalogue in the Mitchell Library collection.  [MP A2947A].  It was certainly grown in the gardens at this time.


Published Mar 05, 2009 - 07:42 PM | Last updated Mar 03, 2010 - 08:49 AM

Illustrated are the lance-shaped leaves and  deep red salverform flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.707, 1803.

Orphium frutescens L. | BM t.707/1803 | BHL

Family Gentianaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Chironia frutescens L.
  • Chironia angustifolia Sims
  • Chironia decussata Vent.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Chironia frutescens 

Confidence level high