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Home > Products > Clivia Page > Clivia Symposium

  Clivia Symposium
 
The second Clivia Symposium was held at the Huntington Botanic Garden on March 10-11, 2001. The first "symposium" , also held at the Huntington, was in 1996 and was a much more informal event. I felt this more recent event was fantastic. There was a lot of information shared by both speakers and attendees and there were also many plants and Clivia photos on display. A particularly nice aspect of the symposium was the long breaks, usually one hour, between speakers that allowed the participants to network. I was able to meet the speakers, talk with attendees, join the Clivia Club, order seeds, get coffee, view the plants on display and in the gardens, all without feeling rushed. Some highights not mentioned below are Jim Comstocks beautiful photos of Clivia seeds, foliage and flowers that were displayed in the entry hall of the Botanical Center; looking through the draft copy of Harold Koopowitz and Jim Comstock's new Clivia book; meeting Connie & James Abel from Pretoria who were signing people up for the Clivia club (lots of new members) and selling seed; putting a face to several people I only know through email; the great food for Saturdays lunch and dinner. Way to go Harold - can't wait for the third symposium!

The speakers were:

Jim Folsom (Director of the Huntington Botanic Garden)

Jim welcomed us to the Huntington Botanic Garden's new Botanical Center, which includes new meeting facilities, staff offices, Library, herbarium and labs - What a great asset to the botanical and horticultural community! A group of us took a quick look into the Greenhouse and had plant curator Kathy Musial pose with the Huntington's most famous Aroid, Amorphophalus titanicus.

Harold Koopowitz - Author of the new Clivia Book, Educator and symposium organizer (or as Jim Comstock would add "our fearless leader")

Harold spoke first on Saturday on the 4 different species of Clivia (C. caulescens, C. gardenii, C. miniata, C. nobilis) in their native habitat and gave a brief history on how Clivia nobilis was discovered and described in 1826-8, including a bit on the name Imantophyllum, a name which Hooker published the plant under on the same day Lindley published it as Clivia - those botanists!!

Harold also boldly pronounced that the proper pronunciation of Clivia should be with a long "ė" (Clė-via) following its namesake for whom Lindley named the genus, Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive. Lady Clive was the Duchess of Northumberland and granddaughter of Robert Clive, better known as Clive of India. He went on to describe how and when Clivia entered into cultivation in England, Germany and Japan (where it was noted within 3 years of being described) and then discussed the early American Clivia hybidizers.

He started with the important work of German born E.P Zimmerman, then touched on Ed Hummel's work and noted that Horace Anderson's hybrids were probably the result of working with Hummel and Zimmermans plants. Harold next discussed the immense contributions of contemporary plant breeders Dave Conway of Santa Barbara and Joe Solomone of Watsonville. Pictures of Joe Solomone's 3 acres of hybrid Clivia were shown - what a site! There were several Joe Solomone hybrids on display in the Plant Display Room.

Harold finished his talk by tantalizing us with the genus most closely related to Clivia, Cryptostephanus. There was also on display at the back of the room a very nice plant of Cryptostephanus vansonii 'White'

Harold's second talk on Sunday dealt with the biochemical processes that create or alter pigmentation in a flower. This was very interesting and way over my head. His discussion on the formation of the anthocyanin pigment pelargonidin and carotinoid pigment, which cells in the leaves they tended to be located in, and how their formation could be blocked was the first detailed scientific reasoning I had heard for the difficulties breeders will have when attempting to create new Clivia hybrids with white or blue pigments in their flowers.

Tino Feraro (South African Clivia breeder)

Tino, after asking forgiveness for the fact that he would be pronouncing Clivia with a soft "i" as he had all his life, showed us some of the incredible results of some of the South African breeders work with Clivia miniata and interspecific hybrids or what he called the "Droopies". He named many of the South African Clivia breeders and clubs and noted many different cultivars. I can't wait to get the symposium proceedings to compare the names I wrote in the darkened room to what Tino actually said! Cultivar names I did catch were (please anyone correct me where I got it wrong) 'Rising Sun', 'Pastel Glow', 'Tangerine', 'Inca Gold', 'New Dawn', 'Chubb Peach', 'Naude Peach', 'Ella van Zijl' (This was the tall plant w/ small flowers with a silvery sheen that I previously called 'Elephants Sail' - my thanks to Roger Dixon for clearing this up!), Rudo Lotter's Perfecta Line, 'Tepalare(?) Peaches', 'Gladys Blackbeard' and 'Cheap Price.

Shigetaka Sasaki (Japanese Clivia breeder and Yoshikazu Nakamura associate)

Shige showed us the many different styles of Japanese Clivia breeding including the Daruma strain with broad short leaves and showed us a small rounded bodied doll which is what the word "Daruma" means. He also explained the many variegation types including Fukurin (broad green central stripe), Shima-fu (Striated), Akebono-Fu (looks airbrushed yellow and green), Negishi-Fu (very fine striations), Naka-Fu (pale yellow midrib), Tora-Fu (White lateral bands-like a tiger and very prized.), Genpei-Fu (?). Shige went on to talk about Yoshikazu Nakamura's breeding work using 'Vico Yellow' and then showed 4 hybrids produced from it: 'Chiba Orange', 'Chiba Yellow', 'Waved-Petal Yellow' and 'Rolled Petal Orange'. The one problem noted regarding these hybrids was their large size given the Japanese preference for smaller plants. Next Shige discussed Nakamura's interspecific hybrids 'Candoll' (C. miniata x C gardenii) with tubular orange flowers half erect, 'Day Dream' (orange miniata x yellow miniata) x (C. caulescens x yellow miniata) with greenish yellow pendulous flowers. He also showed a cobalt 60 influenced hybrid called 'Chibazakura' with many ball shaped umbels of flowers. There was mention made of a plant in Mr. Nakamura's greenhouse that had pure white flowers but it was noted that the white phase was only a very short time between opening green and aging to red tipped petals. This brought on a discussion of antocyanins and Clivia color mutations. Shige ended his talk with some of his own hybrids which were incredibly beautiful.

Dr. James Waddick (Author, Plant Researcher)

Jim used his extensive knowledge of China (he is co-author with Zhao Yu-tang of "Iris of China" Timber Press 1992) to talk about Clivia entry into China during rein of the last emperor (Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, the 10th ruler of the Manchu Dynasty) and how Clivia became a revered symbol. Jim then narrated a very interesting video taken in northern China that featured Chinese Clivia breeders being visited by Japanese Clivia breeder Yoshikazu Nakamura and culminated in an unusual award ceremony for the best Clivias of their area. It was interesting to note that these breeders were after very different qualities than breeders in other countries. Like the Japanese breeders the Chinese were more concerned with the foliage than the flowers but unlike the prized Daruma type Japanese plant, the Chinese plants were very robust and all leaves arranged in a single plane. The standards of appreciation of Clivia of China were outlined as follows: Brightness of leaves (light reflecting from leaf) - the brighter the better; Smoothness - the smoother the better; Rigidity (bending strength of entire leaf) - stiffer the better, Thickness - the thicker the better; Veination - the best veins are rough and convex and obvious; Leaf color - bicolor shades in leaf are the best with the best Jinsi Clivia having a ratio of 1:1 green and white; Leaf shape - the ratio of length to width with the best ratio at 3:1; Leaf arrangement - the best shape is symmetrical leaf base w/ no brown edges or spaces; Leaf form - each leaf tip should be round, a pointed or sharp tip is bad.

James Comstock - Garden Designer, Clivia breeder and Photographer (see his images in the new book Clivias)

What can be said! A most excellent 3 dimensional slide show with the flowers coming right out of the screen and nearly knocking you over. The polarized 3d glasses made you a little woozy after a while but it was certainly worth it. I think this presentation should be included in all future Clivia symposiums. Jim also had some really beautiful photos scattered around in the Botanical Buildings such as the collage and Jim also had a very nice multi-petaled Clivia on display.

Dave Conway

Dave Conway lives and has his nursery near us here in Santa Barbara. He and I have traded several plants and through him I have met other Clivia collectors. The first yellow clivia plant I acquired from Dave was Clivia 'Lemon Chiffon' but I think Dave is most known for his incredible hybrid 'Tessa'. Dave told the group about how he got started in landscape architecture and how this influenced his appreciation of Clivia and related how he began looking at them differently upon noticing certain hues of color. Dave showed a few images, including a collage of flowers, that were scanned and projected on the Huntington's new state of the art equipment - unfortunately it wasn't capturing the color quite accurately so we saw even more blue than I think Dave was trying to show us. He discussed the Parti colors or bi-colored flowers he was seeking and also the elusive blue Clivia that he thinks we will all be seeing sooner than we think.

Several of the symposiums attendees had visited Dave's Nursery in Santa Barbara prior to the symposium and I went with a few others on the day after it for a tour. We also went to the beautiful New Orleans Creole Cottage style home of Glynne Couvillion, who had also attended the symposium.

A perfect ending to a great weekend!