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 humilis Mill.

Cormous perennial with sword-shaped leaves and usually unbranched spikes of up to 12 tubular flowers, white with pink outside or pink with darker pink outside, in spring or summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This is one of the smallest species of its genus, the Cape specimens we have seen being generally from eight inches to a foot high and the leaves about the third of an inch broad, linear and shorter than the stem. […] Flowers in May.  Our drawing was made at Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes’s Nursery, Kensington, where it had been lately imported from Holland.  Raised originally in this country from seed brought from the Cape, by Captain Hutchinson, to Miller, in the year 1754.’  [BM t.631/1803].  ‘If the beauty of the three plants we have here offered to the public, should not be thought a sufficient excuse for giving more than one variety of a species; we might add that, in our opinion, the acquaintance with the remarkable modes of specific variation, is as essential to a complete knowledge of vegetables as any other party of their history.’  [BM t. 1195/1809].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.445/1843].  Received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831.  [MP A2948].


Published Nov 18, 2009 - 05:07 PM | Last updated Jul 25, 2010 - 03:17 PM

figured is a sword-shaped leaf and spike of tubular pink flowers, flared at the tips.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.631, 1803.

Watsonia humilis Mill. | BM t.631/1803 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Gladiolus laccatus Jacq.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Watsonia humilis 

Confidence level high