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.

Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb.

Frost-tender bulbous perennial with elliptic basal leaves, to 35cm long, expanding after flowering, and stems, to 60cm long, bearing umbels of up to 30, funnel-shaped white flowers in spring.  To 45cm.  [RHSD, Baker Am., Blombery].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

First botanically described by Linnaeus in 1753 as Pancratium amboinense [Sp. Pl. p.291/175]. Placed in Proiphys by Herbert in 1821: ‘It is singular that it should ever have been called a Pancratium, since it has no cup, though the enlargement of the base of the petals, where they touch each other, gives the appearance of a cup. The genus was named Eurycles by Mr. Salisbury in the Hortic. Trans. from the breadth of its leaves, which can scarcely be depended upon as a generic feature; and as he has not defined the genus, and the name does not appear to have been adopted, I have (although generally very unwilling to alter a name unnecessarily) called it Priophys, on account of the singular circumstance of the premature germination of the seed, and the protrusion of the embryo from the ovule, to which I know nothing similar or analogous.’ [Herbert’s Appendix p.42/1821].

It was first figured by Commelinus in the early 17th century, from material brought from Batavia.  [BM t.1419/1811]. 

A figure was published of Pancratium australasicum in the Botanical Register from material reportedly discovered in the interior of New South Wales by Allan Cunningham and described as closely allied to Pancratium amboinense.  [BR f.715/1823].  But this report appears to be erroneous.  ‘The plant has not been found in any part of NSW, hitherto visited, as inaccurately stated [in the Botanical Register] but was observed sparingly, in the voyages of Captain P. P. King, on the small, uninhabited, sandy island [Cairncross], at which there is no inducement for passing ships to stop, since it furnishes but little fire wood, and no fresh water.’  [BM t.3399/1835]. 

Bulbs of this ‘very rare species’ were received at Kew in 1821, but it was reportedly originally introduced to Britain about 1759.  [PD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.110/1843].  It seems likely that Macarthur obtained his plants from his close friend Captain P. P. King.


Published May 26, 2009 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Aug 09, 2012 - 04:44 PM

Figured are the rounded, chordate leaf, bulb and umbel of white flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.1419, 1811.

Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb. | BM t.1419/1811 |  BHL


Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

Malaysia and Western Australia

  • Amaryllis rotundifolia Lam.
  • Cearia amboinensis (L.) Dumort.
  • Crinum nervosum L'Hér.
  • Eurycles alata Sweet
  • Eurycles amboinensis (L.) Lindl. ex Loudon
  • Eurycles australasica (Ker Gawl.) G.Don
  • Eurycles australis (Spreng.) Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Eurycles coronata Sweet
  • Eurycles javanica M.Roem.
  • Eurycles nervosa G.Don ex Loudon
  • Eurycles nuda Sweet
  • Eurycles rotundifolia M.Roem.
  • Eurycles sylvestris Salisb. ex Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Pancratium amboinense L.
  • Pancratium australasicum Ker Gawl.
  • Pancratium australe Spreng.
  • Pancratium nervifolium Salisb.
  • Pancratium ovatifolium Stokes
  • Stemonix nervosus (L'Hér.) Raf.


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Eurycles Australia  


Confidence level high