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.

Veltheimia capensis (L.) DC.

Frost-tender bulbous perennial with basal rosettes of erect lance-shaped leaves and stout green stems, flecked with purple, with terminal racemes of pendant, tubular, white or pink flowers with red or green markings, in spring.  To 45cm by 30cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘So ornamental a plant would probably be more common, were it more easily propagated; but it neither readily perfects its seeds, nor is it easily increased by its roots.  Miller directs the bulbs to be planted in pots filled with light earth, that they may be sheltered in October and through the winter, and in a dry, airy glass case, and sparingly watered, till May, when they may be placed abroad in a sheltered situation, and may be frequently watered in warm weather.  Introduced in 1768.’  [BM t.501/1801].  Usually winter flowering in Australia.  Veltheimia glauca was treated as a separate species from Aletris capensis, largely because of the shape of the leaves.  [BM t.1091/1808].   A red-flowered variety of Veltheimia glauca, shown with characteristic wavy-edged leaves, is later figured, showing ‘the true form and direction of the leaves, which in the former plate [t.1091] [were] unnaturally drawn up by heat, so as to assume an altogether different appearance.’  [BM t.3456/1835].  LBC no.1245/1828.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.442/1850].


Veltheimia capensis Hort. is Veltheimia bracteata Harv. ex Bak., a possibility for this plant.  This plant is much more common in cultivation.

Published Jan 10, 2010 - 03:02 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2010 - 03:10 PM

Figured is the stout stem, leaves and terminal raceme of pendant, tubular pink flowers. Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.3456, 1835

Veltheimia capensis (L.) DC. | BM t.3456/1835 | BHL

Family Hyacinthaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Veltheimia glauca Jacq.
  • Veltheimia roodeae Phillips
  • Veltheimia viridifolia Hort.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Veltheimia glauca  

Confidence level high