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Lychnis coronaria - Rose Campion
Scientific Name: Lychnis coronaria
Common Name: Rose Campion, Rose Campy
The species rose campion, also called rose campy, is a native of Europe. It was being cultivated in English gardens by the 17th century (including cultivating double forms) and in American gardens by the 1700s. According to Denise Adams, the first known mention of the rose campion by an American source is in Thomas Jefferson's garden book.1 Jefferson recorded "Lychnis in bloom" at his boyhood home, Shadwell, in 1767.2 Three color forms were listed in Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon's broadside catalog in 1804, including a bi-colored form called "Painted Lady." Jefferson received seed of "Lychnis" from McMahon in 1807.3
The rose campion is a hardy, early summer flowering biennial or short-lived perennial with brilliant, magenta-colored flowers and contrasting thick, fuzzy, gray-green foliage.
Primary Source References
- Peggy Cornett, n.d.
- Coats, Alice M. Flowers and Their Histories. London: Black, 1968.
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986.
- Seeds available for purchase at Monticello Museum Shop.
- Stuart, David and James Sutherland. Plants from the Past: Old Flowers for New Gardens. London: Penguin Books, 1989.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
- 1. Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 193.
- 2. Betts, Garden Book, 6. Manuscript and transcription available online at Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society.
- 3. Ibid., 335.
- 4. Ibid., 352-53. Transcription available at Founders Online.