Clivia Species in South Africa
Clivia caulescens grow on the forest floor of evergreen forests , either on moss and lichen covered rocks or tree trunks. These forests occur in sheltered ravines, moist valleys and incised valley heads, usually south facing. These plants occur in the mountainous areas from Kaapsehoop in the south to Tzaneen in the north and from Barberton in the east to Potgietersrus in the west. The plants are 500 mm to 1500 mm in height, with mature plants forming long, leaf-bearing aerial stems up to 1 metre and more with age, reaching up to 3 m in exceptional cases. The leaves are soft, smooth and pointed slightly arching, between 35 and 70 mm broad and 300mm in length. The flowers of C. caulescens are pendulous and tubular,with colours of orange-red with green tips, which are normally borne in spring and summer (southern hemisphere). The round red berries ripen in winter, after about 6 months from pollination and contain about 1-4 seeds of between 9 and13 mm in diameter.
Clivia gardenii in general prefers well drained loamy soil, and are usually found in steep sloping areas or even on cliffs, though populations have been recorded in marshy areas. These plants occur in evergreen forests under a tall, 20 m high closed canopy in the area of Maputaland-Pondoland between the Pondoland Centre and the Maputaland Centre. Clivia gardenii also grow in the Ngome Forest in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Plants are usually between 800 and 1300 mm in height, with 10-12 bright green leaves in a tuft. These leaves are 25 to 60 mm wide and 350 to 900 mm long, narrowing to a point. The orange-red pendulous flowers with pronounced green tips, varies from yellow to brownish red and are more curved and not as pendulous as Clivia caulescens and Nobilis. The flowering season is from May to July, with some plants already setting seed while others are still in bud. The berries with one or two large seeds ripen the following winter, about 12-15 months after pollination.
C. nobilis is only found in the Eastern Cape Province, specifically from the Sundays River Mouth, extending up along the coast to the Mbashe River area, with colonies occurring as far inland as in the vicinity of Grahamstown, and the Olifants Kop pass. The coastal areas have a mild climate (9-25°C) and receive 600-900 mm rainfall annually, and does not have the same threat of frost and snow. C. nobilis is found under evergreen forest, low bush (thicket) and amongst dune vegetation. The inland populations are found in wooded kloofs where they grow on riverbanks, rocky outcrops and along forest margins. The populations growing primary in coastal dune vegetation and sand are normally more exposed, with the plants near the top of dunes grow in full sunlight. If dunes are away from the sea, C. nobilis plants have long-leaves and large extended root systems, growing under high, closed canopy. Half-way up the dunes, the plants have short-leaves with smaller rooting systems, growing under a low 2-3 m canopy. The strap-shaped leaves are stiff , slightly rough to smooth with a rough edge, 300-800 mm long and 25-50 mm broad. A moderate to weak median stripe appear on the leaves that has an indented to very obtuse point. The inflorescence consists of an umbel of 20-60 florets borne on a peduncle about 300 mm long. The florets are pinkish yellow to dark red with green tips. They are pendulous tubular, about 11 mm wide and 25 - 40 mm long. The stamens slightly longer than the stamens and has an excellent self pollinating system. The berries are round to teardrop shaped and usually up to 6 seeds, covered in a distinctive purplish-red membrane. The berries take about turn red when they ripen after about 9 months. The seeds are much smaller than the other species with the radicle produced by the germinating seed is about 1.5 mm thick.
Clivia mirabilis seem to occur only in the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve in the Northern Cape where they can be found growing in humus between cracks in sandstone rock. They grow in the shade of evergreen trees but some clumps grow in full sun. These plants show signs damage caused by the sun and dry conditions. Plants seem to be similar in most ways to the C. nobilis as the leaves are more firm with rounded tips than the other species. The line along the length of the leaves is clearer than in the case of Clivia nobilis. Length of the leaves is usually between 800 and 1200 mm in height. These leaves are 25 to 40 mm wide and 800 to 1200 mm long, narrowing to a slightly rounded point. The orange-red pendulous flowers that appear to be bi-coloured are carried on orange-red pedicels. There are between 20 and 48 florets carried on a purple-red peduncle during October to November. The berries ripen to bright red with one to three seeds each by March, which is much faster than all the other species. Occasionally some fruit have up to seven seeds.
Clivia robusta in general occurs in the more marshy or swampy sections of our country. They also occur on sloping areas or even on cliffs, where the conditions are damper. These plants occur in evergreen forests under 20 m tall closed canopy in the area of Maputaland-Pondoland. Robusta also grow in the in the KwaZulu-Natal southern coastal area. Plants are usually between 1200 and 1800 mm in height, with 10-20 light green leaves .These leaves are between 40 to 125 mm wide and 1200 to 1800 mm long, narrowing to a slightly rounded point. The orange-red pendulous flowers with pronounced green tips vary in colours from baby pink to deep red and are similar to Clivia gardenii . Yellow, yellow to peach and apricot forms do occur occasionally. The flowering season is from May to July, with some plants already setting seed while new buds are forming. The berries with one or two large seeds ripen the following winter, about 12-15 months after pollination.