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 indicum ‘Purpurea Plena’

Probably a cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. Azalea indica purpurea plena is probably the plant noted by John Lindley in the Botanical Register as the double purple with lilac-purple flowers, seen at Brookes’ Nursery but not figured.  [BR f.811/1824].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

This may be the Chinese introduction figured as ‘Azalea, double red Indian’ in the Botanical Register [BR f.56/1842] although this does not accord with the earlier description of the double purple [BR f.811/1824].  ‘The beauty of the Azaleas, which, although Chinese, are called Indian, is too well known to the Garden-lovers of England to require explanation.  Their endless variety, their brilliant colours, delicate texture, and profuse blooming, place them at the head of all the races of cultivated plants.  Most of them are however single, and in our opinion that is no small merit; for a double flower is rarely handsome unless when the additional parts are arranged with the most perfect symmetry.  Such is not the case with this double red, the flowers of which are large and splendidly coloured, but very deficient in beauty of form.  It is however rare, and quite a distinct kind; circumstances that give it value in the eyes of a collector.  It is of Chinese origin: but is not enumerated by Kaempfer.  Our figure was taken from a fine plant in the possession of William Wells, Esq., of Redleaf’.  [BR f.56/1842].  The plant figured is a vivid red and is perhaps unlikely to be purpurea plena although the epithet purpureus did cover a wide range of colours between red and violet.  [Stearn p.476].  See also Rhododendron indica ‘Purpurea’.

For more information on Indica Azaleas see Rhododendron indicum Sweet.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.106/1843].  ‘Azalea double red’ was also requested of Loddiges’ Nursery on 1st February, 1849.  [MP A2933-1, p.185].


This plant may be synonymous with Rhododendron mucronatum f. plenum Wils.  [Wilson & Rehder p.73].  This is illustrated and described under Rhododendron indicum Sweet var. rosea superba, which see.  [BM t.2509/1824].

Published Jun 05, 2009 - 04:38 PM | Last updated Sep 12, 2011 - 04:39 PM

Figured is a double azalea with bright red flowers.  Botanical Register f.56, 1842.

Rhododendron indicum 'Azalea, double red Indian' - this may be purpurea plena | BR f.56/1842 | RBGS


Family Ericaceae
Region of origin


  • Azalea indica L. purpurea plena


Common Name

Indica Azalea

Name in the Camden Park Record

Azalea Indica purpurea plena 


Confidence level low