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Guide to the Classification & Exhibition of Clivia  cliviasociety [Font Size 16 14 12]

By Roger Dixon & Keith Hammett


The genus Clivia is endemic to Southern Africa. It belongs to the family Amaryllidaceae and comprises five recognised species namely C. nobilis , C. miniata , C. gardenii , C. caulescens and C. mirabilis . Hybrids exist between all of the species. This hybrid complex is generating a great deal of interest amongst enthusiasts in several countries. Cultural differences have resulted in two main directions in the breeding of Clivia . One direction focuses on the foliage of plants that are not allowed to flower, while the other focuses on the plant and its inflorescence.

Within these different breeding directions a large diversity of characteristics and their combinations has been achieved already. It is the aim of this booklet to document, define and quantify this variation. This will facilitate communication and understanding between Clivia enthusiasts worldwide, which in turn, will lead to further development of the plant in cultivation.

The booklet also presents guidelines for the exhibition of Clivia plants so that both enthusiasts and the general public alike can enjoy the beauty offered by the genus.

In this guide, Clivia is defined as being inclusive of all its species and hybrids.

Clivias will be exhibited primarily as whole plants grown in containers with the objective of show judging being to determine that which is most aesthetically pleasing.

It is recognized that plants vary in both dimension and proportion, and for this reason a set of categories has been established to enable the compilation of show schedules.


Plants may be exhibited in two distinct forms:

A. As non-flowering foliage specimens.

B. As flowering specimens.


Foliage plants

Leaf shape

1. Broad leaf (similar to Chinese Monk). Shiny, upright leaves with pronounced veins.

· Leaf width 90-110 mm
· Ratio length : width 3:1 - 5:1
· Long: leaves longer than 450 mm
· Medium: leaves shorter than 450 mm but longer than 350 mm
· Short: leaves shorter than 350 mm

2. Henglan

· Leaf length not to exceed 150 mm.
· Leaf width to length ratio to be 1:1 - 1.5:1.
· Leaf tips to be round

3. Daruma. Short, broad, pendulous leaves.

· Leaf width 90 -150 mm
· Ratio length : width 1.5:1 - 2.5:1
· Long: leaves longer than 250 mm
· Medium: leaves shorter than 250 mm but longer than 200 mm
· Short: leaves shorter than 200 mm

Leaf colour

In Clivia leaves are usually a single colour green (light to dark), but yellow leaves do occur such as in Light of Buddha, for which new leaves must be a bright yellow with very little green, becoming greener with age. The leaves must show distinct veining.

In variegated forms a combination of dark green, light green, yellow, grey or white areas can occur.

Types of variegation:

· Longitudinal (stripy variegation which has a variety of types): narrow stripes evenly distributed   across the leaf in any combination of dark green, light green, yellow, grey or white.

· Marginal (the Fukurin type or Edge variegation): White edges with a green centre, symmetrical

· Median (the centre stripe or Reverse Edge): green edges with a white centre stripe,   symmetrical

· Mandarin: one half of the leaf green, the other white

· Akebono: horizontal white bands on an otherwise green leaf.


Flowering Plants


Inflorescence is an umbel consisting of a peduncle supporting pedicels which arise at its apex.

In flowering plants there needs to be visual balance between the inflorescence, foliage and container.

Flower Colour

In flowering plants flower colour is the dominant criterion for division into classes.

1 Colour Distribution

a.  Colour may be expressed differently on the inner and outer tepal surfaces.
b.  On both surfaces colour tends to be expressed as zones.
c.  For tubular flower forms the outer surface colour has the greatest visual impact.
d.  In tubular forms three zones may be discerned: basal, median and tip colour, while the inner      surface tends to be a single colour.
e.  Versicolour. In mainly conical and flared forms where the outer surface of outer tepals     (sepals) is a different colour to the outer surface of the inner tepals (petals). e,g. ‘Chanel'     red/yellow versicolour.
f.  In open forms the inner surface has greater visual impact. Two zones are discernable, basal     and upper. The basal colour is that seen at the attachment to the ovary, the upper colour is     that at the tip of the tepal. The proportions of these vary.
     i.  Self. Where the basal (throat) colour is negligible or absent.
     ii.  Standard. Where the basal colour occupies approximately one half of the tepal's length.           The basal colours are most commonly yellow or white or a gradation of the two.
     iii.  Bicolour. Where the basal colour occupies approximately 75% of the tepal's length with           a distinct demarcation between the colours.
     iv.  Picotee. Where the upper colour occupies 10% or less of the tepal's length with a           distinct demarcation between the colours.
     v.  Tricolour. Where a second distinctly demarcated basal colour, most commonly green or           yellow, extends some distance up the midrib.
     vi.  Fancy. This encompasses any other colouration such as blotched, striped and bleached.

Figure 1: Colour distribution in the clivia flower. The top half of the drawing is the view looking into the more open flowers, and the bottom half is the view of the tubular types.

2 Colours which are found in Clivia flowers (list incomplete - more research needed)

Colour Group

  Colour name


Yellow (Self coloured and throat colours)




Light Yellow

17D, 18D

Peach (Tend to be self coloured)



Orange (Tend to have white throats)

Light Orange

32B, 32C, 33C


Medium Orange

30A, 30B, 31A, 31B, 32B


Dark Orange

32A, 33A, 33B

Orange-red (Tend to have yellow throats)


35B, 35C


Dark orange-red

34A, 44A

Red (Tend to have white throats)


37B, 38B


Dark pink

39A, 39B, 47B



41A, 42C



42B, 42D


Dark red

44A, 45A













As more colours are recorded these names/divisions will become better defined and the range extended.

Flower Form

Flower form is determined by the width and presentation of the tepals to the viewer. In order to quantify the basic forms the angle of flexure of the distal portion of the tepals in relation to the axis is used


Figure 2: Angle of divergence of tepals from throat in clivia flowers and the terminology. A reflexed tepal is recurved.

Figure 3: Section through idealised clivia flowers showing the divergence from the throat.

1 Definitions

A. Tubular Flowers. Tepals are essentially parallel with a maximum divergence of 5º.
B. Conical. Tepals are essentially straight with an angle of divergence of 5º - 15º
C. Flared. Tepals are mainly straight with an angle of divergence of 15º - 45º.
D. Incurved (Tulip). Tepals orientated as in flared but tips curve inward.
E. Open. Angle of flexure from throat 45º - 90º.
F. Reflexed. Tepal flexure from throat is greater than 90º

2 Tepal Shape/Arrangement

Tepal shape and size vary from cultivar to cultivar. In some cultivars the tepal segments may be almost equal in size, whereas in others there is a marked dichotomy between inner and outer tepals.

Shape: Clivia tepals are obovate to oblanceolate, rarely ligulate with acute to rounded tips becoming retuse in very broad tepals.

Figure 4: Obovate
Figure 5: Oblanceolate
Figure 6: Ligulate
Figure 7: Acute tepal tip
Figure 8: Rounded tepal tip
Figure 9: Retuse tepal tip

The tepal margins are normally entire, becoming undulose in reflexed flowers and very rarely spiculate in the more oblanceolate to ligulate tepals.

Figure 10: Entire, undulose
and spiculate tepal margins.

Tepal width varies from none (as in “Frats”) through to greater than 30 mm in the obovate and larger oblanceolate tepals. In open and reflexed flowers the tepals can be involute, flat or revolute

Figure 11: Flat
Figure 12: Revolute
Figure 13: Involute

3 Arrangement.

A. Overlapping. Tepals are broad and overlap from the base.

Figure 14: Overlapping tepals

B. Windowed. Tepals are narrow and separate at their bases, but overlap at their widest points.

Figure 15: Windowed tepals

C. Separate. Tepals do not overlap at any point. Length/width ratio is less than 5:1.

Figure 16: Separate tepals

D. Spider. Tepals do not overlap at any point. Length/width ratio is greater than 5:1.

Figure 17: Spider tepals

E. Multitepal. The majority of flowers in an inflorescence consist of eight or more tepals.

Figure 18: Multitepal

F. Miscellaneous. This group includes flower with attenuated or missing tepals and other unusual variations. i.e. “Frats”, “Capellini”.

Figure 19: Miscellaneous tepal shapes

For flowering plants size classes are best defined by leaf length:

A. Miniature Shorter than 200 mm
B. Small Between 200 – 300 mm
C. Medium Between 300 – 500 mm
D. Large Greater than 500 mm but less than 1200 mm
E. Giant Over 1200 mm

Inflorescence and tepal size.

It is recognized that both the size of the inflorescence and the flowers comprising each inflorescence can vary widely in size. In as much as an inflorescence needs to be in proportion to the size of plant, specific dimensions of the components of the inflorescence need not be specified.

Show Schedules

The parameters defined here demonstrate the inherent variability exhibited by the genus. This provides enormous scope for further development. However, as combinations of these parameters allow for in excess of three million classes to be defined, a degree of restraint and lumping will be required when writing a show schedule.

The purpose of exhibitions is to display the variation that occurs in a genus. Exhibitions may be competitive or non-competitive.

A classification scheme is desirable to define the variation. This can be used in a variety of ways, and is important for communication. At shows classification is used to organize the categories in which plants are displayed. This is schedule writing. In competitive shows judging guidelines are necessary to define criteria that are considered desirable and those that are not.

It is important that the three components, namely classification, schedule writing and judging guidelines are used to encourage diversity and maximum participation.

It is recognized that factors such as climate, location and the availability of plants will influence the form that shows follow in different areas. If organizers remember that the encouragement of diversity is desirable, the development of exhibitions with differing styles can only be a strength.

While encouraging the development of maximum diversity, there is a collective responsibility to maintain, in a pure state, different accessions of naturally occurring species.

As species have differing flowering times, this offers scope to hold exhibitions at different times of the year.

Judging Criteria

The objective of show judging is the selection of the best examples on display within each class as specified by the show schedule at the time of judging.

Judging materials:

A. Show schedule
B. This booklet (Guide to the Classification & Exhibition of Clivia)
C. RHS Colour Chart
D. Standard flower cut outs to determine flower shape.

Scoring schedule for flowering plants:

Condition (20 points):

All plant parts undamaged and clean. Artificial enhancement of appearance is undesirable (trimming, leaf waxes, etc.).

Balance (20 points):

There should be a visual balance between inflorescence, foliage and container. The peduncle must be sufficiently strong and upright to support the umbel without staking.

Umbel (20 points):

The umbel should be bilaterally symmetrical when viewed from all sides. For the pendulous species a slight asymmetry is allowed, but this is not desirable for C. miniata and inter-specific hybrids. Well-filled but not overcrowded. Flowers must be evenly distributed with at least 60% fully open.

Flower Shape (20 points):

The apices of the tepals should define a circle. Tepals should be bilaterally symmetrical. In forms with broad tepals, it is desirable that all tepals have an equal size and shape.

Flower Colour Quality (20 points):

The colour or colours should be clear, bright and evenly distributed within their appropriate zones.


Scoring schedule for foliage plants

Condition (20 points):

All plant parts healthy, undamaged and clean. Artificial enhancement of appearance is not acceptable (trimming, leaf waxes, etc.)

Balance (20 points):

The size and arrangement of the leaves must be symmetrical and evenly distributed. Stem must be symmetrical in a fan shape, with no brown edges or spaces.

Leaf Shape (20 points):

Leaves must be symmetrical with round tip. Size and proportion as per the definition for each class.

Leaf Texture (20 points):

The leaves should be thick, with veins prominent. The leaf should be stiff. The surface should be bright, not dull. Many veins are preferable.

Leaf Colour (20 points):

For all leaves the colour or colours should be clear, bright and evenly distributed.

For self -coloured green or yellow leaves, the colour should be evenly distributed.

For longitudinally variegated forms the optimum distribution if bicoloured is 50% of each colour symmetrically arranged.

For Akebono forms with horizontal banding, the banding should be present on all leaves and be regularly spaced.

For tessellated (eg. Painted Face) forms, the veins must be dark green and the spaces between must be distinctly lighter and translucent in colour for good contrast.

For Light of Buddha forms, new leaves should be bright yellow with very little green, becoming greener with age. Leaves to show clear veins.

Definition of terms and glossary

acropetal Produced in succession from the base upwards, so that the oldest members are at the base, and the youngest at the top.
acute Having a sharp and rather abrupt point: said usually of a leaf tip.
basal Situated at the base.
calyx The outer whorl of a flower made up of sepals which are usually green.
corolla A collective term for the petals of a flower, which are usually brightly coloured.
family The taxonomic division between an order and a genus. It contains similar genera. The names of botanical families usually end in -aceae. The genus Clivia is placed in the family Amaryllidaceae.
genus A taxonomic rank containing related species. Similar genera are collected into a family.
hybrid A cross between two individuals of unlike genetic constitution. These can be of the same species, different species in the same genus, or different species in different genera.
inflorescence A flowering shoot bearing more than one flower.
involute Having inrolled margins.
lanceolate Flattened two or three times as long as broad, widest at the middle and tapering to a pointed apex.
ligulate Strap-shaped.
margin The edge of a leaf or other flattened plant member.
median Middle
oblanceolate Lanceolate tapering, but towards the base.
obovate Having the general shape of the longitudinal section of an egg; not exceeding twice as long as broad, and with the greatest width slightly above the middle, hence attached at the narrow end.
perianth The floral envelope, it includes the calyx and corolla.
pedicel The stalk of an individual flower of an inflorescence.
peduncle A stalk of an inflorescence.
raceme A definite inflorescence, with the main axis bearing stalked flowers which are borne in acropetal succession.
retuse Having a bluntly rounded apex with a central notch.
revolute Rolled backwards and usually downwards.
species The smallest unit of classification commonly used. In sexually reproducing organisms it is a maximum interbreeding, or potentially interbreeding group, breeding true within its own limits in nature.
tepal A perianth segment, not differentiated into a calyx (sepal) or corolla (petal).
tessellated Surface marked with squarish areas, blocky appearance
umbel A raceme in which the axis has not elongated, so that the flowers stalks arise at the same point. Thus the flowers are in a head, with the oldest at the outside.
variegation Irregular variation in colour of a plant organ, e.g. leaves or flowers due to suppression of normal pigment development. This may be due to the action of a marginal genotype, somatic mutation, or infection.

Mr Cui

Another new species of clivia