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.

Watsonia borbonica (Pourr.) Goldbl.

Cormous perennial warrowly sword-shaped leaves and branched spikes of up to 20 slightly irregular, purple-pink, rarely white flowers in summer.  To 2m.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Our figure was drawn last July from a plant at Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes, who imported it some time since from the Cape.  Mr. Alderman Hibbert possesses a variety with deep purple flowers, but with the mouth always of deeper colour in the inside.’  [BM t.537/1801].  The plant figured as rosea-alba has pure white flowers.  ‘This fine species is at once seen to be closely allied to the marginata of No.608 of this work. […] One of the tallest known to us, being sometimes four feet high.’  [BM t.1072/1807]. 

Watsonia rosea was introduced to Britain in 1803 by Lady De Clifford.  [ABR pl.335/1803].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.451/1843].  Received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831 under the name Watsonia rosea [MP A2948] and listed in all catalogues.  Well established in the gardens with large clumps of plants in shades of pink and also white.


Published Nov 19, 2009 - 01:49 PM | Last updated Jul 25, 2010 - 03:16 PM

Figured is a sword-shaped leaf and tubular funnel-shaped deep pink flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.,1072, 1807.

Watsonia borbonica (Pourr.) Goldbl. | BM t.1072/1807 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Watsonia rosea Ker-Gawl.
  • Lomenia borbonica Pourr.
  • Watsonia rosea-alba Ker-Gawl.
  • Watsonia pyramidata Klatt.
  • Gladiolus pyramidatus Andr. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Watsonia rosea 

Confidence level high