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.

Polygala oppositifolia Thunb. var. cordifolia

Half hardy evergreen shrub with opposite, heart-shaped leaves and terminal racemes of purple flowers with a yellowish-green keel, in spring.  To 1m.  The leaves of cordifolia are larger and more heart-shaped than the type.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figures Polygala oppositifolia [BM t.492/1800] and Polygala cordifolia, saying of the latter: ‘It differs from oppositifolia by the erect, not reflexed leaves, by the flowers being larger and more collected together.  The intensity of colour in this and the related species varies, especially according to the degree of light they are exposed to.’  [BM t.2438/1823].

‘This is a native of the Cape of good hope, introduced in 1791.  It is a greenhouse plant, of slender growth, and producing its beautiful flowers in the beginning of summer.’  [LBC no.1189/1827]. ‘Among these [the Polygalas] are some of the gayest and most useful inmates of our greenhouses’.  [Gard. Chron. 1855].  Don.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.771/1843].


Polygala cordifolia C.Presl. (1830) is a Peruvian species.

Published Mar 22, 2009 - 04:46 PM | Last updated Mar 24, 2010 - 03:27 PM

Illustrated are the heart-shaped leaves and terminal racemes of purple flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2438, 1823.

Polygala oppositifolia Thunb. var. cordifolia | BM t.2438/1823 | BHL

Family Polygalaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Polygala cordifolia Thunb.
  • Polygala attenuata Lodd.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Polygala cordifolia 

Confidence level high