Monday, 23 March 2009

Clivia nobilis

Clivia nobilis Lindley
Botanical Register; consisting of coloured . . . 14: t. 1182. 1828.

This noble plant is supposed to have been one of the discoveries of Mr. Bowie at the Cape of Good Hope, from some of the inner districts of which colony it was probably procured. The plant from which our drawing was made, flowered for the second time in July last, in the princely Garden of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, at Syon House, and was communicated to us by Mr. Forrest, to whom we are indebted for several observations upon its habit and characters.

At first sight it has so much the appearance of a Cyrtanthus that it may easily be mistaken for one, especially if the detached flowers only are seen. But upon a more minute examination, it will be found that it is not only not referable to that genus, but that it is actually doubtful whether it does not belong to a distinct natural order. In the 'first' place, it does not form a bulb, an almost indispensable character of Amaryllideae, from which there is but one other variation hitherto known, namely in Doryanthes. In the second place, the fruit is not a dehiscent dry capsule, but fleshy and indehiscent; and, thirdly, the seeds are not numerous, compressed, and membranous, but solitary, round, and fleshy. It is, therefore, obviously distinct from Cyrtanthus; and there is no other Amaryllideous genus to compare with it, except Eustephia, the fruit of which is still unknown, but which is peculiarly characterised by its 3-toothed filaments, and which is probably not far removed from Phycella. Perhaps the real affinity of this plant cannot at present be determined: to us it appears most closely allied to Haemanthus, the bulbs of which are very imperfect.

A greenhouse plant, not appearing to require particular care in its cultivation, and propagating either by seeds or suckers.

Roots fleshy, fascicled. Leaves distichous, coriaceous, dark green, strap-shaped, sheathing at the base, retuse and oblique at the apex, rough at the margin. Scape erect, plano-convex, bordered, furrowed towards the summit. Flowers from 48 to 50, on long stalks, pendulous, arranged in an umbel. Perianth tubular, clavate, deciduous; the segments yellowish scarlet, greenish at the apex, obtuse, imbricated in a double row, cohering towards the base, the outer rather shorter than the inner, like those of a Lachenalia. Stamens 6, inserted in the orifice of the tube, equal; filaments smooth; anthers small, oval, greenish yellow, versatile. Ovarium inferior, greenish yellow, 3-celled, many seeded, round, ventricose. Ovula numerous, inserted towards the base of the axis; style filiform; stigma somewhat 3-lobed. Fruit berried, indehiscent, red, generally, in consequence of the abortion of two cells and. most of the ovula, one-seeded, marked at the top by the scar of the fallen perianth. Seed single, ascending, (only seen unripe), very smooth, transparent, oval; hilum small, above the base; foramen in the base; raphe short, raised. Testa , when young, marked with very minute areolations; albumen abundant.

* We have named this genus in compliment to her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland, to whom we are greatly indebted for an opportunity of publishing it. Such a compliment has long been due to the noble family of Clive; and we are proud in having the honour of being the first to pay it.

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