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.

Ruellia macrophylla Vahl

Tender sub-shrub with pointed ovate leaves, wavy at the margins, and axillary panicles of bright scarlet flowers.  To 1.2m.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Botanically described as Ruellia macrophylla by Martin Vahl in 1791 [Symb. Bot. (Vahl) vol.2, p.72, t.39/1791]. This is still the accepted name for this plant.

‘A handsome-flowered plant, easily increased by cuttings, but more desirable in a young state (when it readily blooms) than when it has attained a large size, for then its foliage predominates too much.  It is an old species of Vahl, but only recently, so far as we know, introduced to our stoves, by one of the collectors for the Royal Gardens of Kew, Mr. Purdie, in 1844, from St. Martha, and apparently other places in New Grenada as well as in Mexico and in Jamaica.  It flowers throughout the summer months.’ [BM t.4448/1849 as Stemonacanthus macrophyllus].  BR f.7/1846 as Stemonacanthus macrophyllus.  

History at Camden Park

It was included among desiderata in a letter to Sir William Hooker dated February 11th, 1848 but was not marked ‘arrived’.  [MP A2933-1, p.165].  It seems likely that this plant was received in 1848 because it was omitted from an amended list of desiderata sent to Sir William Hooker on 1st February, 1849 [MP A2933-1, p.177], ‘as I have recently received from Loddiges many of the plants in a list of desiderata I forwarded last year.’  It was not included in desiderata sent to Loddiges’ nursery in 1846 [MP A2933-1, p.147] and 1848 [MP A2933-1, p.172].  It is not listed in any subsequent catalogue.


Ruellia macrophylla H.B. & K. (1815) = Ruellia fulgida Andr.

Ruellia macrophylla Willd. ex Nees (1847) = Stemonacanthus wildenovianus Nees

Published Feb 22, 2010 - 04:26 PM | Last updated Apr 14, 2011 - 05:30 PM

Figured are pointed, ovate leaves and axillary panicles of scarlet flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine BM t.4448, 1849.

Ruellia macrophylla Vahl | BM t.4448/1849 as Stemonacanthus macrophyllus | BHL

Family Acanthaceae
Region of origin

South America

  • Stemonacanthus macrophyllus Nees 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Ruellia macrophylla 

Confidence level high