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.

Quisqualis indica L.

Frost tender, perennial climber, shrub-like when young, with sharply pointed, elliptic leaves, to 18cm long, and pendant terminal racemes of fragrant, slender-tubed flowers, to 7cm long, white on opening, then changing to pink, then purplish red with age, in summer and autumn.  To 20m or more.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The fanciful name of Quis Qualis was given to this plant by Rumphius, which has been since joined into one word.  The Malays call it Udani. […] The natives make great use of this plant.  The young leaves, which have a warm pungent taste like radish, are eaten raw, either by themselves or mixed with lettuce; they likelwise enter into various compositions for medicinal purposes.  The unripe fruit is a very efficacious remedy for worms, and what is remarkable, the ripe kernel, which is sweet to the taste like almonds, has likewise the same anthelmintic property.  But it is observed that, though some persons, and among these Rumphius himself, could eat these kernels with pleasure and impunity, in others they soon produced nausea followed by a troublesome hickuping.  Native of the East-Indies.  Introduced about 3 years ago by Messrs. Whitley, Browne and Milne, in whose stove it flowered in June last for the first time.’  [BM t.2033/1818]. 

It was exhibited at the Horticultural Society under the name of Q. sinensis in july 1841, by Lucombe, Pince and Co. of Exeter: ‘We presume it to be of the same nature as the Q. indica; although more compact and a better pot plant.’  [BR f.15/1844].  BR f.492/1820.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.816/1850].  It was requested of Loddiges’ Nursery on 13th February, 1848.  Quisqualis glabra was requested at the same time [MP A2933-1, p.172].  Q. indica and Q. pubescens appear to have been received from Loddiges’ as Macarthur wrote in a letter dated 1st February, 1849 ‘the two Quisqualis […] multiplied by striking cuttings from them’ [A2933-1, p.185].  It was also included among desiderata in a letter to John Lindley at the Horticultural Society dated 15th February 1848 [A2933-1, p.157] and to Kew around the same time [MP A2933-1, p.165] and marked ‘arrived’ on Macarthur’s copies.  See also Quisqualis pubescens Burm.f.


Published Mar 09, 2009 - 03:13 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 02:51 PM

The image shows drooping lance-shaped leaves and long-tubed red and white flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2033, 1818.

Quisqualis indica L. | BM t.2033/1818 | BHL

Family Combretaceae
Region of origin

Tropical Africa and south east Asia

  • Quisqualis sinensis Lindl.
  • Quisqualis glabra Burm.f.
  • Quisqualis pubescens Burm.f.
Common Name

Rangoon creeper, Drunken sailor

Name in the Camden Park Record

Quisqualis indica 

Confidence level high