Blue ginger

Dichorisandra thyrsiflora

Elizabeth Farm

'A noted horticulturist'

Blue ginger was one of many hundreds of exotic plants William Macarthur – the horticulturist son of Elizabeth Farm founders John and Elizabeth – grew at the family estate at Camden Park, where he established a nursery.

Macarthur sourced plants from the world’s most notable nurseries and collectors, and sent plants and seeds from his vast collection of Australian flora in return. Camden plants flowered at Vaucluse House, Elizabeth Bay House and in many other grand 19th-century Sydney estates, and the plant catalogues Macarthur compiled are invaluable for the insights they give into the gardens of the colonial well-to-do. Blue ginger is unusual for being listed just once, in 1857, suggesting that even a plantsman as skilled as Macarthur was unable to get the subtropical Brazilian native to withstand Camden’s cold winters.

Published on 

Florilegium plants

Browse all
Florilegium plants

A gathering of flowers: the Florilegium collection

Finely detailed botanical artworks reveal the range of plants introduced to Sydney’s gardens over the past 200 years

Florilegium plants

Bunya pine

Owners of large 19th-century estates often planted tall trees around the house or homestead so they could orient themselves from the surrounding area

Florilegium plants

Camellia japonica 'Cleopatra'

Vaucluse House has a significant collection of historic camellia cultivars, some of them dating back to the mid-1800s

Florilegium plants

Firewheel tree

A Queensland firewheel tree is one of the more prominent surviving elements of the garden Rose Seidler established around the modernist, Bauhaus-influenced house designed for her by her architect son, Harry, and completed in 1950