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.

Thunbergia grandiflora Roxb.

Woody twining climber with ovate or lance-shaped leaves, toothed or lobed, and blue, occasionally white flowers, sometimes in drooping racemes.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

The first depiction of this climber appears to have been in the Botanical Cabinet in 1919, although without a detailed description. ‘This beautiful climber is a native of India, and has lately been introduced into this country; to the stoves of which it will prove a very valuable acquisition. Its magnificent flowers are produced in abundance, during the greater part of the summer season, each flower remaining open several days: they have no scent. The plant appears to be of free and exuberant growth, and by no means difficult to manage. We had one which grew above twelve feet in one season. It flourishes in rich loamy soil, either in a pot or planted in the border of the stove, for which situation it is well adapted. It may be propagated by cuttings. This Genus has been dedicated to the celebrated and amiable Thunberg, who is still living at Upsal at an advanced age.’  [LBC no.324/1819]. 

The first published botanical description appeared in the Botanical Register, taken from an unpublished manuscript of Roxburgh of the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. ‘The drawing of this newly introduced handsome-flowered climber is from the pencil of Mr. Herbert, whose kind communications we have so often had to acknowledge.  It flowered in his hothouse at Spofforth the summer before last for the first time we believe in this country.’ A detailed description by Roxburgh followed.  [BR f.495/1820].

‘Native of Bengal, growing in uncultivated places, in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, and flowering in the rainy season. Requires to be kept in the stove. May be propagated by cuttings. Our drawing of this beautiful plant was taken at Haringay House, the seat of Edward Gray, Esq. in whose stove it grows luxuriantly, and flowers freely.’ [BM t.2366/1822]. 

Introduced to Britain in 1818.  [JD].  

History at Camden Park

Desideratum to Loddiges nursery, 6th January 1845. [MP A2933-2, p.28].  This is the only record.


Thunbergia grandiflora Wall. (c.1828) = Thunbergia laurifolia Lindl.

Published Oct 16, 2009 - 03:41 PM | Last updated May 02, 2011 - 04:12 PM

Figured are somewhat lobed, lance-shaped leaves and blue flowers.  Botanical Register f.495, 1820.

Thunbergia grandiflora Roxb. | BR f.495/1820 | BHL

Family Acanthaceae
Region of origin

Tropical South East Asia

Common Name

Blue-flowered Thunbergia

Name in the Camden Park Record

Thunbergia grandiflora 

Confidence level high