Clivias, 2002
Harold Koopowitz

Clivia 'Four Marys'

McNeil made this hybrid with its very peculiar color pattern. He considered it his best clivia plant and described it as a "big open head of apple blossom pink flowers." The flowers open widely and are a soft yellow color. As the florets age they take on pink tones, particularly on the reverse of the flower segments, so that a pink flush appears to be shining through the flower. Eventually some pink color also flushes the inner face. As flowers in the umbel mature at different rates, the entire head of flowers presents a patchwork of flowers all at different stages of color development. McNeil recorded that he had crossed pollen of Crinum powellii onto a Clivia miniata plant. He must have been disappointed that the plant looked just like a clivia because he self-pollinated C. miniata 'Four Marys' hoping to see some segregation of Crinum characteristics in the second generation. Unfortunately, the next generation of seedlings showed only clivia characteristics. Few believe that McNeil was able to make intergeneric Clivia hybrids because the seedlings always resembled the pod parent. He seldom bothered to emasculate or isolate the flowers he pollinated. There is something about the color pattern of C. miniata 'Four Marys' though that is reminiscent of C. nobilis, where anthocyanins are also often confined only to the outer faces of the tepals. Despite the flowers that seem to be purely C. miniata in shape, it is possible that C. nobilis features in its background. Blackbeard, who supplied most of McNeil's original material, had made many complicated Clivia hybrids that featured C. nobilis in their ancestry.


American Florist 1(18): 321-322 (May 1, 1886)

Mr. Powell wrote: "Crinum Powelli was raised by me from seed about years ago. The seed-bearing parent was Crinum longifolium, both the roseum and album vars. being hybridized with the pollen of Mooreanum, and it possesses undoubtable traits of both parents. It grows from two to three feet high, differing from longifolium, the glaucous green foliage of which generally rests on the surface of the soil. The foliage of C. Powelli is a dark bright green, in shape resembling C. longifolium, i.e., the leaves are five feet long and three inches wide at the base, and taper to a point. C. Powelli has been out of doors ever since it left the seed pan; it may, therefore, be deemed perfectly hardy, and plants of it sent to Scotland have also stood over several winters. The only care necessary in planting is to have it sufficiently deep, as it has a very long collar, and to have manure or good compost for it to root into, well below the bottom of the bulb. It will then take care of itself, either in full sun or in any aspect not exposed to tree drip. It blooms from the middle of July to the end of September, the flower stems raising themselves well above the foliage; the individual blooms are superior to those of either parent, and very much resemble Amaryllis Belladonna in shape, though larger, and their color varies from deep rose to a light pale pink.