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 ‘Speciosissima’

A cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. ‘A bright rosy red, slightly spotted.  A separate blossom, is five inches across.  It is very showy.’  [FC p.138/1848].  A free-flowering, tall growing, rosy-purple, spotted variety.  [FC p.166/1839].  In Paxton's Magazine of Botany, Azalea speciosissima is described as a seedling variety, ‘raised by Mr. Smith of Norbiton, who has sent it out with the forgoing title.  Its flowers are of a greater size than those of any other kind we know, and the hue is a deep and splendid crimson, with numerous dark spots in the upper petals.’  [MB p.119/1843]. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

For more information on Indica Azaleas see Rhododendron indicum Sweet.  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.117/1850].  Obtained from Kew Gardens, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in 1849.  In the confirmatory list sent by Macarthur to King it is marked with an ‘o’, meaning new to the colony.  [ML A1980-3].  It was also included among desiderata to Loddiges’ Nursery, 13th February, 1848 [MP A2933-1, p.172] and may have been received as it is not amongst those notated ‘died’.

Azalea speciosissima, listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.123/1845] is probably identical with Rhododendron indicum ‘Speciosissima’.  I have been unable to identify another plant for which this name was used.


Published Jun 07, 2009 - 09:35 AM | Last updated Sep 12, 2011 - 02:56 PM

Family Ericaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, England

  • Azalea speciosissima Hort.


Common Name

Indica Azalea

Name in the Camden Park Record

Azalea Indica speciosissima

Azalea speciosissima 

Confidence level high