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.

Potentilla x mackayana Sw.

Downy perennial herb with divided leaves, particularly the basal leaves, and yellow, five-petalled flowers with a light red centre.  [BFG pl.43/1829].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The present subject is of hybrid origin, having been produced from the seed of P. formosa, that had been fertilised with the pollen of P. opaca; it was first raised at the Nursery of Mr. Mackay, where the present drawing was made; the habit of the plant partakes chiefly of the female parent, but the colour of the flowers, except the faint red mark in the centre, is that of the other; it is rather singular that the colours are not more mixed, as in P. Russelliana, where they are quite intermediate between the two, the dark crimson and rose colour, producing a brilliant scarlet or blood colour.  The present plant is desirable on account of its abundant flowering, which continues nearly all the summer and till late in Autumn; it may be grown either in the open border, or in rock-work, in the common garden soil, and is readily increased by dividing the root.  Potentilla was a name given to this genus, on account of its powerful strengthening qualities, chiefly ascribed to P. reptans, which is still much in use amongst the country people in some of the western counties.’  [BFG pl.43/1829].  [A number of species of Potentilla have been given the specific name opaca.  Sweet is probably referring to Potentilla opaca L. which is now regarded as synonymous with Potentilla heptaphylla L., a low growing species with canary yellow flowers, widely spread in continental Europe]

History at Camden Park

Seed ordered from Warner & Warner, Seedsmen and Florists, Cornhill, on 12th April 1846 [MP A2933-1, [p.131], although this plant is not listed in The Gardener’s Chronicle advertisement of 12th April, 1845, referred to by Macarthur.


Published Oct 06, 2009 - 05:10 PM | Last updated Feb 04, 2010 - 12:37 PM

Figured are divided leaves and yellow, five-petalled flowers with a light red centre.  British Flower Garden pl.43, 1829.

Potentilla x mackayana Sw. | BFG pl.43/1829 | Google Books

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, England

Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Potentilla Mackayana 

Confidence level high