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.

Rhododendron ‘Broughtonii’

Reportedly a hybrid. Although its exact origins are unclear Rhododendron arboreum ssp arboreum is believed to be one parent, the other unknown. It can grow into a small tree, no doubt under the influence of its Rhododendron arboreum parent, and has red flowers. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

it was figured among seedling Chinese Azaleas in Paxton's Magazine of Botany [MB p.55/1845], shown with deep pink flowers, speckled deep red on the upper segments.  This is probably the Rhododendron broughtonii Hort. mentioned in Wilson & Rehder [p.194]: ‘There is already a R. broughtonii Hort. which is a hybrid between two species of forms of Eurhododendron with rosy-red flowers.’  Eurhododendron species come mainly from China and the Himalayas and include Rhododendron arboreum.

History at Camden Park

Desideratum to Loddiges’ Nursery on 13th February, 1848 [MP A2933-1, p.172] and 1st February, 1849 [MP A2933-1, p.185].  I have found no other record of this plant and it may not have been received.  But Macarthur had mixed fortunes with plants received from Loddiges’ and elsewhere at this time and many were dead on arrival.  Some of these are listed in a subsequent letter but it is possible that others arrived alive and were planted in the gardens although never listed in the catalogues.


A less likely possibility is Rhododendron norbitonense Smith var. broughtonianum, raised by Smith of Norbiton and a Rhododendron molle x (R. maximum x R. ponticum) hybrid.

‘This interesting and handsome race of hybrids was raised by Wm. Smith of Norbiton near Kingston, England, about 1830.  After they were exhibited in Ghent in 1839 and before the Horticultural Society in London in 1842, they attracted much attention as yellow-flowered Rhododendrons and became widely known.  Of their parentage Lindley (in Bot. Reg. XXXI sub. t.51/1845) says: “The yellow and coppery mules of the late Mr. Smith of Norbiton were obtained from that white Rhododendron [“the fine white cross between R. ponticum and maximum”] by the pollen of sinense.” Smith apparently raised a large number of different forms.’  [Wilson & Rehder p.193].  

Published Jun 18, 2009 - 01:39 PM | Last updated Sep 07, 2011 - 05:08 PM

Family Ericaceae
Region of origin

Probably garden origin, England

  • Rhododendron broughtonii Hort.


Common Name

Indica azalea

Name in the Camden Park Record

Azalea indica Broughtoni 


Confidence level medium