• November 19, 2023
  • Carol Klein
  • 0

how to pronounce clivia?

Clivia is a plant species with various pronunciations, including “trivia,” “CLI vee yah,” “KLEE vee ah,” and “KLEE vee ah.” Its name is derived from Lady Clive, and its pronunciation is a written language, not a spoken one. Botanical Latin is intended to be an international language, and it is important for the person speaking to understand the plant being discussed. To handle pronunciation issues, it is recommended to adopt the pronunciation of botanical names used by the person you are speaking with. This can be an amusing conversation if both speakers try to do it simultaneously.

Botanical names can be challenging for gardeners to pronounce due to their complex combinations of syllables and Latin, Greek, or French word origins. For instance, the dawn redwood tree, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, has a challenging name due to its Greek origins. The name means “with or sharing” and “Sequoia”, the tree to which it is related. The name also has depressions in its cone that resemble a carved cone.

Carl von Linne, a Swedish naturalist, was responsible for the development of the modern system of naming plants in 1753. Before this, plants were named without standardized rules, often containing lengthy descriptions. As more plants were discovered, Linnaeus realized the impracticality of this system and championed for a binomial naming system. He identified the first word as a broad grouping of related plants (genera) and the second word as more specific to the plant (species). Every plant in his binomial system has a unique name. Understanding the origin and meaning of botanical names can help gardeners become more comfortable using them.

In the eighteenth century, Latin was the most widely used language for scientific scholars studying plants and animals. Other languages, such as Greek, French, and Italian, also played a role in the origins of plant names. There is no single standard for pronunciation due to the numerous languages used to give plant names.

Pronunciation is difficult due to the many languages used, with some relying on the reformed academic pronunciation accepted by classical scholars or the traditional English pronunciation. With few rules for pronunciation, there are many opinions and possibilities without a definitive final answer. Some people also view Latin as a written language that is not generally spoken.

There are guidelines for pronouncing botanical names over time. Plant names made up of two syllables have an emphasis on the first syllable, while those more than two syllables have an emphasis on the next to last syllable. For example, bego’nia has a long second to last syllable, while flabelliformis (meaning fan-shaped) has a long “o” that must have the emphasis.

The hardest plant names to pronounce are those with someone’s name. For example, Clivia (for the noble family of Clive) is pronounced clivia with a short “i” like hive or long “e” like cleave. Most plant names with a person’s name are usually straightforward to pronounce, but some are as simple as pronouncing the person’s name followed by ee (long “e”) + eye.

One good trick to correctly pronounce plant names is to say every vowel or letter. Bougainvillea is an example of a plant named after Lois Antoine de Bougainville, a sailor and explorer. Chamaecyparis is pronounced hard, but it can also be pronounced with a long “ch” sound.


Clivia – my favourite plant!

Like parents with their children, gardeners often have a favourite among all of the plants that they grow. Without doubt my great horticultural love is clivia, most especially the cream ones. 

They are perennials in the Amaryllidaceae family, related to naked ladies and hippeastrums. There are only six actual clivia species, the best-known being Clivia miniata, mainly the orange one, usually grown in massed planting. They have shiny, dark green strap-like leaves, which grow from a central crown, sending out babies (pups) on the side.
The clivia plant, named after Lady Charlotte Clive, the Duchess of Northumberland, is known for its beauty and beauty. It was first introduced to England in the early 1800s and was named after her as the first person to produce flowers. The plant is often mispronounced as cly – vee – aah, but it is important to be aware of the potential sanction from traditional growers and breeders.

Clivia – my favourite plant!

Clivia, native to southern Africa, thrive in shade and low humidity, but are not tolerant of frosts. Direct sunlight is advised. Clivia flowers are excellent cut, lasting almost two weeks in a vase. The berries are ornamental and can be used in flowering arrangements.

Clivia miniata: Key facts 

Common name Kaffir lilies, natal lilies, bush lilies
Botanical name Clivia miniata
Family Amaryllidaceae
Height 30-60 cm
Spread 90 cm
Temperature 50-75 ℉
Water Only water Clivia when soil is dry
Soil Well-drained soil 
Sun Bright light (avoid direct sun)

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