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.

Ritchiea erecta Hook.f.

[Ritchiea polypetala is] ‘An erect, glabrous shrub, with alternate, 3-5-foliolate leaves, petioles slender, terete, three to five inches long.  Leaflets as long as or longer than the petioles, oblong or obovato-lanceolate, acuminate, shortly petiolulate.  Corymbs terminal, erect, two inches long, three- to five-flowered.  Flowers large, four inches across the petals.  Sepals four, ovate-oblong, deep green.  Petals about fourteen, very narrow, strap-shaped, crumpled above the middle, acuminate, pale straw-coloured. Stamens very numerous, spreading, with small anthers.  Ovary on a very long stipes.’  [BM t.5344/1862].  Joseph Hooker goes on the compare this plant to others in the genus: ‘It differs from the original species, R. fragrans (Crataeva fragrans, Bot. Mag. t.556), in the erect habit, short peduncle and pedicels, and numerous petals.  The R. erecta has much smaller flowers and few petals.’

Horticultural & Botanical History

[Ritchiea polypetala is] ‘A very remarkable plant, differing from its congeners, and indeed from every other plant of the Natural Order to which it belongs, in the numerous petals, which are not even multiples of the sepals as might have been expected.  It was discovered by the lamented Mr. Barter, of Dr. Baillie’s Niger Expedition, at Abeokuta, in 1859; and the plant here figured was sent from Western Africa, by Mr. G. Mann, the intrepid collector for the Royal Gardens, Kew, from whom so many fine and curious novelties have already been received by us and figured in this Magazine.  Mr. Barter describes it as an erect shrub, growing in forests.’  [BM t.5344/1862].

History at Camden Park

Desideratum to Loddiges nursery, 6th January 1845.  [MP A2933-2, p.28].  There is no record that it was received and grown at Camden.


Macarthur may have intended Richea, a genus in the family Epacridaceae, but this seems unlikely as neither of the plants listed are known under the specific names given here.  See also Ritchiea species unidentified.

Published Mar 04, 2009 - 03:15 PM | Last updated Feb 28, 2010 - 12:01 PM

Illustrated are the oblong leaves and large white flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.5344, 1862.

Ritchiea polypetala Hook. ex Hook.f. | BM t.5344/1862 | BHL

Family Capparaceae
Region of origin

Tropical Africa

  • Ritchiea brachypoda Gilg
  • Ritchiea pentaphylla Gilg & Gilg-Ben.
  • Ritchiea polypetala Hook. ex Hook.f.

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Richiea erecta 

Confidence level medium