The success of the clivia

A local success story leads to a challenge of accepted history on the origin of the clivia

The clivia is a highly sought-after flowering plant, first discovered by the English naturalist William Burchell in or around 1815.

Local lady, Annie de wet Steyn, is a champion grower who produces hundreds of these plants each year for sale and for their seeds which she exports around the world.

However, armed with an original map made by Burchell, Annie and her husband, Justin, are contesting the traditional hhistoricalrecord that the plant was discovered near the mouth of the Great Fish River.

“The map clearly shows that the plant was discovered at Riet Fontein Pos, and that was at the farm where the Ford farm, Glendower, now stands,” said Justin. In the past, it seems to have been accepted that Riet Fontein Pos was at or closer to the Riet River. It is a strange coincidence that Annie’s home at the Riverview Estate in Port Alfred where she cultivates her award-winning clivias is just a few short kilometres from that original site.

More on this story in Talk of the Town

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