Clivia gardenii (Hooker)

Original description:

Hooker, W.J., (1856). Clivia gardeni. Curtis’ s Botanical Magazine series III 12: t. 4895.

Clivia gardenii was discovered and collected by Major Robert J. Garden of the 45 th Regiment. He collected specimens in 1855 while stationed in Natal and sent them to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. It was here that Sir W. Hooker named the new species Clivia gardenii when it flowered in 1856, in honour of the collector Major Garden.


The distribution range of Clivia gardenii lies within the Maputaland-Pondoland Region of endemism, between the Pondoland Centre and the Maputaland Centre from Durban northwards, with an outlier distributed in the Ngome Forest, situated in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.


C. gardenii

C. gardenii prefers in general a well drained habitat, though populations have been recorded in marshy environments. The plants prefer well‑drained loamy soil, and are usually found in steeply sloping areas or even on cliffs. At Ngome Forest, part of the mistbelt Afromontane vegetation, situated between Vryheid and Nongoma, C. gardenii grows under a tall, 20 m high closed canopy of evergreen forest, occurring in small colonies with a patchy distribution, and preferring eastern or western aspects. This forest receives approximately 1 530 mm of rain annually and is underlain by sandstone, dolerite and shale.

Plant size:

Plants are usually between 800 and 1300 mm in height.

Leaves: Leaves 10-12 in a tuft, ensiform, bright green, 350 to 900 mm long, 25 to 60 mm wide, narrowing to a point.


C. gardenii has an extended flowering season, from May to July (late Autumn to mid-Winter), with some plants already setting seed while others are still in bud. Flower colour is orange-red with pronounced green tips; but varies from yellow to brownish red. The flowers are more curved and not as pendulous as C. caulescens or C. nobilis.

Peduncle 30 – 45 cm long. Flowers 10-25 in an umbel; pedicels 2.5 – 4 cm long; spathe valves several, lanceolate, greenish, 4 cm long; perianth curved; tube narrowly funnel shaped 8-12 mm long; segments connivent, oblanceolate, obtuse, 4 cm long. Stamens as long as the segments, style much exserted.

Berries: Usually one or two large seeds are found in each oblong berry. The berries ripen in the following winter after about 12-15 months.