Clivia gardenii is an evergreen, rhizomatous perennial originating from KwaZulu-Natal. The plant is commonly known as Major Garden’s clivia, named for a soldier who was stationed in Natal around 1850.
C. gardenii is found in forest shade, its fleshy roots at home in moist areas. It grows strap-like, leathery, dark green leaves and forms clumps reaching heights of around 60 cm. The somewhat flattened scape emerges by mid-autumn to early winter.
The inflorescence comprises a dense head of narrow, pendulous flowers borne on short pedicels. The flower tube curves slightly, its orange or yellow tepals green-tipped. The paler, yellow flowered plant is called C. gardenii var. citrina, the orange one C. gardenii var. gardenii. The bright red berries that follow are eaten by birds contributing to seed dispersal.
Clivia is a small Amaryllidaceae genus of six species endemic to southern Africa, mainly in the eastern coastal parts, although some originate from the west near Nieuwoudtville (Duncan, 2010; www.plantzafrica.com).