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Anatomy of Clivia Plants


Structure of a Clivia Plant

A clivia plant is built around its base or rhizome; de Hertogh and Le Nard refer to it as a rhizomatous root stock. There is no actual bulb on a clivia plant, but this structure is homologous to the basal plate of bulbs, such as are found in other members of the Amaryllis Family, like Hippeastrum and Crinum. The rhizome is a stem that usually grows partly underground and partly above. From it grow the leaves, the flower structure or inflorescence, and the roots.

The principal growing point at the top center of the rhizome is called the apical meristem. From it, the plant continues its upward growth as well as producing leaf and flower shoots to the sides. At the inner side of each new shoot, a new bud also is formed. This bud, which encloses the axillary meristem (axil means "in the armpit" or closest to the main stem or axis), is kept latent or dormant by auxins produced by the apical meristem. These dormant buds off to the sides from the dominant apical meristem are also called lateral buds. They may become a new inflorescence or a new rhizomatous shoot. If the apical meristem is damaged or destroyed, one or two of these lateral buds may become new apical meristems.

New plants develop vegetatively from the rhizome when a dormant lateral bud develops into a new rhizome with a new growing point. These become offsets or offshoots and eventually are completely separate from the mother plant, albeit genetically identical to it.

The flowers of a clivia inflorescence are carried in a cluster, or umbel, atop the stem, called a scape or peduncle. Each individual flower bud grows out of the top of the peduncle on its own small stem, or pedicel. The cluster of flower buds of the umbel may be partially enclosed in leaf-like structures called bracts.

The structure of the flower and reproductive organs:


Other Sources of Information

Clivias, by Harold Koopowitz, Timber Press, Portland, 384 pp. (2002).
Clivia Nature and Nurture, by Dirk Swanevelder and Roger Fisher, Briza Publications, Pretoria (2009).
Bulbous Plants of Southern Africa, by Neil du Plessis and Graham Duncan, Tafelberg Pub. Ltd., Cape Town (1989).
Hints on Growing Clivia, The Clivia Society, Kenilworth, South Africa, 22 pp. (2000).
The Physiology of Flower Bulbs, by A.A. de Hertogh and M. Le Nard, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 811 pp. (1993).
RHS Manual of Bulbs, John Bryan and Mark Griffiths, Eds., Timber Press (1995).
Bulbs for Warm Climates, by Thad M. Howard, University of Texas Press, Austin (2001).
Bulbs, Revised Edition, by John E. Bryan, Timber Press, Portland (2002).

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10 February 2012
© Copyright 2012 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.