We imported flasks of the first ever tissue culture of a superior, named Clivia clone: ‘Vico Yellow’. It was bred by the late Sir Peter Smithers. His book, “Adventures of a Gardener” is must reading for anyone who has a passion for plants. The story of how Sir Peter bred ‘Vico Yellow’ is fascinating and is summarized below in his own words:
“In 1925 two plants collected from the wild in the Eshowe Forest in South Africa were sent to UK. One went to Lewis Palmer, my neighbour, Treasurer of the RHS and the other to Lord Aberconway, the president. Both plants died, but not before setting seed. The seed of the Kew plant, which had been growing in a house with numerous orange flowered C. miniata all produced orange flowers.
Kew then set about a program of breeding back from the orange plants to select a yellow, and finally this was achieved, resulting in a plant which was named C. x kewensis ‘Cream’. There were also a number of good quality seedlings from this program which were in varying shades of orange. All those retained had large flowers and broad petals.
In 1971 I obtained a plant of C. x kewensis ‘Cream’ and a plant each of C. x kewensis ‘A’ and C. x kewensis ‘B’. I hand pollinated these plants in all directions - pollen dabbing of the worst kind and sowed a large quantity of seed. As there was more seed than I wanted to raise the surplus was discarded under the greenhouse stage (where there is quite a nice growing climate with ferns and so forth). My C. x kewensis ‘Cream’ then died (the third mysterious death in this story).
The seedlings flowered in about four years, all in varying shades of orange with varying amounts of yellow in the throat of the flower. They were quite good - much above the Clivia sold in flower shops - but no yellow.
Several years later to my astonishment, a Clivia flowered under the stage: a fine clear yellow and good shape. This is ‘Vico Yellow’! I shall not burden you here with the rest of the story or further details, but it makes the antecedents reasonably clear: Eshowe - Kew - Vico Morcote - and an astonishing stroke of undeserved luck.”
In 1991, the late Sir Peter Smithers facilitated our exclusive USA importation of the clones we have of his fabulous : Clivia x kewensis 'Vico Yellow'. These are the real deal.
Clivia x kewensis ‘Vico Yellow’
Clivia x kewensis ‘Vico Yellow’ - Raised by Sir Peter Smithers
The Clivia ‘Vico Yellow’ plants we offer are now one gallon, blooming size plants. These are NOT seed raised but instead a CLONE with specific, known performance characteristics. They will begin to bloom next spring. Offsets that form can be grown on separately. Truly a very choice and rare plant of exceptional merit. and worth. A large flower with huge umbels when well grown. Clear buttery yellow with excellent vigor. See Sir Peter’s photo. Shipped bare root, year round. An exceptional and most elegant Clivia.