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.

Sparaxis many varieties

Sparaxis or related species, unidentified.  It is likely that these plants were collected in the wild in South Africa although many garden varieties were listed in nursery catalogues from early Victorian times.

Horticultural & Botanical History

There are many descriptions and illustrations of Sparaxis in the 19th century literature.  The Ornamental Flower Garden figured three species, versicolor Sw., [OFG f. 241/1854], stellaris D.Don [OFG f.242/1854], and lineata Sw. [OFG f.243/1854]. The British Florist figured three Sparaxis hybrids: purpurea, blue with a yellow and purple eye; picta, orange and red with a yellow eye; and pulchella, variegated purple-lilac with a yellow eye.  [BF p.49/1843]. The Floricultural Cabinet figured 4 varieties, venustum, with pink-tipped cream flowers; decora, with blush petals with a yellow centre, deep blue at the base of the petals; formosa, whitish blue with deep blue spots at the base of the petals; and dobreeana, pink-tinged white flowers, with blue spots at the base of the petals.  These were all raised by Mr. Dobrae of Guernsey and are illustrated here.  [FC p.74/1837].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.416/1843].  Macarthur received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831 bulbs of ‘Sparaxis, various colours.’ 


Published Nov 18, 2009 - 10:38 AM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 05:12 PM

Figured are 4 varieties of Sparaxis in shades of blue, white and pink.  Floricultural Cabinet p.74, 1837.

Sparaxis many varieties | FC p.74/1837 | RBGS

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Probably South Africa but could be of garden origin

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Sparaxis many varieties 

Confidence level low