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.

Telopea speciosissima (Sm.) R.Br.

Half hardy evergreen shrub with obovate, toothed leaves, to 25cm long, and flower-heads, to 15cm across, consisting of a ring of red bracts and many tubular, bright red flowers, in spring.  To 3m.  [RHSE, Hortus, FNSW, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The Waratah is allowed, both by the natives and the settlers in New South Wales, to be the most splendid of all their productions; and the former are said also to find an agreeable repast in sucking the tubular flowers, which abound with honey.  Mr. Loddiges’s and some other collections contain this valuable and rare shrub, but we have not heard that it has as yet flowered in any but in that of Emp. J. A. Woodford, Esq. at Springwell, in Hertfordshire, where our drawing was taken in May last.  Propagated by layers, or by seeds imported from New Holland.’  [BM t.1128/1808].  Introduced to Britain in 1789.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Common locally in the Camden area.  It is somewhat surprising that it does not appear until the 1857 edition of the catalogue [T.973/1857] although it is marked with a ‘c’ in an 1836 Loddiges’ catalogue held at Camden Park.  As this is code for ‘grown at Camden’ it would appear to have been in the gardens much earlier.  [CPA].


Published Mar 21, 2010 - 03:42 PM | Last updated Mar 21, 2010 - 03:48 PM

Shown are obovate, toothed leaves and globular flower head of many bright red flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.346, 1796.

Telopea speciosissima (Sm.) R.Br. | BM t.1128/1808 | BHL

Family Proteaceae
Region of origin

Australia, New South Wales

  • Embothrium speciosissimum Sm. 
Common Name

Common waratah, Sydney waratah

Name in the Camden Park Record

Telopea speciosissima 

Confidence level high