I have for many years attempted to trace the origins of many clones of clivia particularly the colour mutations originating from the wild habitats. It has become evident to me that much of the history surrounding these clones has been lost or distorted. I, under the guide of Fred van Niekerk came up with the idea of including all my plants with historical value into what I call today my Heritage collection. The main objective, which I have in mind, is to conserve as much of the history of the clones in the collection. These clones would then be documented and conserved as a living collection of plants with some historical significance.
The collection essentially differs from the living collections of the National Botanical Institution in that this collection also includes non-habitat plants and only allows for specially selected plants from habitat.
WHAT QUALIFIES A PLANT TO BECOME PART OF THIS COLLECTION?
- Clivia are strange plants in that they have become family heirlooms to many families. Some of these heirlooms can be traced back for generations. A good example of such a plant is the plant named Elsie Grobler, which dates back to the 1880`s and is featured in the clivia book by Harold Koopowitz. Thanks to the generous donation by Henriette Stroh the Heritage collection now has a plant of this clone represented.
- Plants, which have played a significant role in the genetic makeup of clivia grown today. A very good example of one such plant is Vico Yellow. In 1988 Yoshi Nakamura very kindly gave me a plant of Vico Yellow, which had been grown from tissue culture. [The first clivia I think to be successfully grown from tissue culture]. But being a purest I did not only want this plant in the Heritage Collection but also wanted an offset of the original Smithers plant. I am very happy to say that not without considerable effort by clivia friends I now have a mature original offset in the collection.
- Habitat plants, which are extraordinary and very rare. Such as the colour mutations found in the wild including Yellow, Peach, Pink and Variegated. Also habitat plants which are specially selected and particularly interesting. An example of one such clone would be Alpha Thurston, a yellow collected in the wild with exceptional beauty.
- All species of clivia should be represented in this collection and plant like the original Clivia robusta collected in the wild by Mr. Len Chiazzari in 1943 is also part of the collection. This would also include the colour mutations of the pendulous species as well as variegated plants. The naturally occurring interspecific hybrids would also qualify in this category.
- Plants, which have been the flagship plants for prominent breeders and collectors, may also qualify to be part of the collection. An example of a plant like this is Lady Of Oribi Gorge, which was the flagship plant of the late Ammie Grobler. Not only was it Ammie`s flagship plant but it is also a stunning habitat plant with known locality. I am thankful that Ammie entrusted me with one of these plants for the collection.
WHO OWNES THE COLLECTION AND HOW SHOULD IT BE MANAGED?
As far as the ownership of the collection goes at this stage it is in my hands but I envisage that a group of similarly minded people would form a group all having a collection and offsets be traded amongst the group.
The collections of the group would be documented and in the case of somebody leaving the group the group of Heritage collectors would have first option on the heritage plants. This would ensure that the heritage plants would always be in the hands of people who would preserve them and their history for future generations. Thus far all the plants in the Heritage collection have been donated to me, exchanged for other plants or purchased by myself.
- Members of the heritage collection group should ensure that plant material together with the relevant history is passed on to others.
- Every effort should be made to have the plant in its original form in the collection, and not “this may be a seedling of the original plant”.
- Only specially selected habitat plants with accurate habitat identification should be allowed in the collection.
- Curators of the heritage collections should ensure to the best of their knowledge that the information on a particular plant is correct and complete.
- All plants belonging to the heritage collection should be properly labeled and their history well documented and preserved.
- Accurate records should be kept on the heritage plants and their movements well documented.
- The Heritage collections should be made available for the viewing of interested Society members and other interested parties.
The collection over time will hopefully bring more clarity to the histories of our heritage clivia clones. The origins of these special clones would be clearer and hopefully be preserved for prosperity.
Thus far I have had a number of KZN Clivia Club members interested in participating in the group. Anybody else interested in being part of this Heritage group is welcome to contact me.
Eston, South Africa
+27 (0) 84 301 9960