Herbs & Plants

Kaffir Lily

Botanical Name: : Clivia miniata
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Clivia
Species: C. miniata
Order: Asparagales
Rank: Species
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Kaffir Lily, Natal lily, Bush lily

Habitat: Kaffir Lily is native to woodland habitats in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces) as well as in Swaziland.Given suitable conditions it grows into large clumps and is surprisingly water wise. It is also reportedly naturalized in Mexico. It is a popular plant for shady areas and is commonly seen growing in older established suburbs in most Australian states. It is also popular in New Zealand, Japan, China and the USA, particularly California.

Kaffir Lily is a perennial plant with dark, strap-like leaves that have very showy orange flowers. It must be planted in the shade and enjoys compost-rich soil. The decorative, fleshy, red berries remain on the plant until next flowering season.
It grows to a height of about 45 cm (18 in), and flowers are red, orange or yellow, sometimes with a faint, but very sweet perfume. It is sometimes known in cultivation as “Kaffir lily” (a term considered offensive in South Africa). The same name is also applied to the genus Hesperantha.

It contains small amounts of lycorine, making it poisonous.

The Latin specific epithet miniata means “cinnabar red”.


With a minimum temperature of 10 °C (50 °F), in temperate regions C. miniata is normally cultivated as a houseplant. Like its relative C. nobilis it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, along with the variety C. miniata var. citrina (confirmed 2017). In warmer sites, it can grow outdoors and is used in landscapes for its attractive evergreen foliage and showy flowers. This clump-forming plant spreads via rhizomes and is particularly suited for shady areas.

Meditional Uses:
Root infusions are taken for snakebite and also applied to the wound. They are also taken for fevers and to induce or facilitate childbirth. Roots or leaves are sometimes an ingredient in inembe, an infusion taken regularly during pregnancy to ensure an easy childbirth. Leaves are also used in medicines know as isihlambezo which are taken during the last three months of pregnancy and are sometimes used to augment or enhance labour. Bulb decoctions are used for infertility and urinary complaints by the Xhosa.

Other Uses:
Clivia miniata is a popular garden and container plant. Many hybrids are also available.

Known Hazards:
Symptoms of poisoning from bulbs include salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea and depression of the central nervous system in severe cases. Aqueous extracts from leaves used in isihlambezo or inembe produce uterotonic effects.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.