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.

Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Pers.

Short-lived, soft-wooded tree with pinnate leaves, to 30cm, with up to 30 pairs of leaflets, and racemes of large, pea-like, red, pink or white flowers followed by seed pods to 45cm long.  To 12m.  [RHSD].  Don describes Agati grandiflora Desv. as having yellowish flowers, with white and pink forms also known.  

Horticultural & Botanical History

Long used as a herbal medicinal in India.  ‘In Bombay the leaves or flowers are made use of by the natives, their juice being a popular remedy in nasal catarrh and headache; it is blown up the nostrils and causes a very copious discharge of fluid, relieving the pain and sense of weight in the frontal sinuses.  The root of the red flowered variety, rubbed into a paste with water, is applied in rheumatism; from 1 to 2 tolas of the root-juice are given with honey as an expectorant in catarrh; paste made of the root with an equal quantity of Stramonium root is applied to painful swellings.  The flowers are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.  The leaves are said to be aperient.  Rumphius states that a poultice of the leaves is so popular a remedy in Amboyna for bruises, that the tree has become notorious as the “solatium et auxilium illorum qui vapulantur,” and people who plant it near their houses are laughed at on this account.  It is a curious coincidence that the Sanskrit name Vranari signifies “enemy of sores” (Vrana-ari).’  [Dymock – Pharmacographia Indica, Part 1, p.473/1889].

Agati grandiflora was introduced to Britain in 1820.  [JD].  Don.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.28/1850].  Possibly sourced from northern Australia.


Published Nov 21, 2009 - 04:47 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2010 - 02:26 PM

Family Fabaceae
Region of origin

Tropical Asia and Northern Australia

  • Agati grandiflora Desv.
Common Name

Scarlet wistaria tree, Vegetable humming bird

Name in the Camden Park Record

Agati grandiflora 

Confidence level high