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.

Zephyranthes candida (Lindl.) Herb.

A hardy evergreen bulbous perennial with narrow, sword-shaped foliage and white, crocus-like flowers in autumn.  [RHSD, Hortus].  Sometimes mistaken for Zephyranthes atamasco [Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

First botanically described by John Lindley in 1823 as Amaryllis candida [BR f.724/1823], placed in Zephyranthes by Herbert in 1826: ‘We had an opportunity of comparing its flower immediately with that of Atamasco, and and have no doubt of their belonging to the same genus.’ [BM t.2607/1826].

‘This plant, conspicuous by its fleshy, semicylindrical and rush-like leaves, which resist the severest frosts of our usual winter, has ripened its seeds for me after snow had lain upon them for three weeks.  I have seen the quicksilver fifteen degrees below the freezing point (Fahren.) without its losing more than the ends of its leaves.  I have not been able to ascertain that it is indigenous in the west of South America, though abundant in old gardens in the valley of the Lima.  There is no difference in hardiness of the constitution of the bulbs from Lima and those from Buenos Ayres, where the banks of the Plata are so covered with it that it is understood that the river was called La Plata, meaning silver, on account of the profusion of its white blossom on the shore.’  [Herbert p.176]. 

‘This species was sent to the Horticultural Society in 1823, from Peru, where it was collected by Mr. Cowan.’  [BR f.724/1823]. 

‘We received bulbs of it, in 1822, from our lamented friend General Paroissier.’  [LBC no.1419/1830].  BM t.2607/1826.

History at Camden Park

Zephyranthes sp. is listed in all published catalogues [B.461/1843] but we cannot be sure that this refers to Zephyranthes candida.  Macarthur specifically included Zephyranthes candida among desiderata to Loddiges’ Nursery, 6th January 1845 [MP A2933-2 p.28] and Zephyranthes candida is marked with a ‘c’, meaning grown at Camden, in an 1836 Loddiges’ catalogue held at Camden Park making it likely it was grown in the gardens around this date [CPA].  An earlier introduction could have been lost.


Published May 16, 2009 - 04:29 PM | Last updated Aug 12, 2012 - 03:33 PM

Illustrated are bulb, leaves, unopened bud  and widely expanded white flower.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2607, 1826.

Zephyranthes candida (Lindl.) Herb. | BM t.2607/1826 | BHL


Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

South America

  • Amaryllis candida Lindl.
  • Amaryllis nivea Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Argyropsis candida (Lindl.) M.Roem.
  • Atamosco candida (Lindl.) Sasaki
  • Plectronema candida (Lindl.) Raf.
  • Zephyranthes nivea (Schult. & Schult.f.) D.Dietr.


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Zephyranthes sp., Zephyranthes candida 


Confidence level high