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Products > Cryptostephanus vansonii
Cryptostephanus vansonii - White Clivia

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Amaryllidaceae (Onions)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): High Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Cryptostephanus vansonii - An evergreen plant with 12 to 18 inch long slightly-arching narrow dark green strap-shaped leaves that forms small open clumps. In late spring into summer, and sometimes at other times, appear long-lasting lightly-fragrant small white, later blushed pink, flowers with a light yellow center and delicately flared 1/2 inch long petals that sit in umbels atop 15 inch tall stalks. The flowers are followed by first green, and then red fruit; and, since flowers open over a long period, both color fruit are usually present and sometimes are accompanied by a second inflorescence bearing flowers. Plant in a well-drained soil in morning sun or light shade and irrigate regularly (every couple weeks). We are not sure how hardy this plant is but our stock plants went through the January 2007 cold snap (25 F) but were somewhat protected under the canopy of a large live oak. This uncommon plant seems to do best in a container or raised planter with bright light. It is one of the closest relatives of Clivia - so close that originally it was thought that bigeneric hybrids might be used to create the illusive pure white or even purple colored flowers in Clivia but as far as we know plants of these two genera have not crossed. This plant naturally inhabits the understory of forested areas at higher elevations in the Bvumba and Chimanimani Mountains of the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe (what used to be called Rhodesia) and possibly east into adjacent areas of Mozambique, where it grows in leaf litter or lithophytically on top of rocks. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'crypt' meaning "hidden" and 'stephanos' meaning "that which surrounds" or "a crown" in reference to the small, nearly hidden, corona at the top of the floral tube of the flower. The specific epithet honors a Mr. Georges van Son (1898-1967), an entomologist at the Transvaal Museum who first flowered a collected specimen in his Pretoria garden even before Frans Verdoorn (1906-1984), the Dutch born Arnold Arboretum (Harvard University) botanist, described the species in 1943. We first saw this plant at the first US Clivia Symposium held at the Huntington Garden in 2001 but seed and a stop plant was first provided to us in 2007 by Clivia collector Glynne Couvillion.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Cryptostephanus vansonii.