The Rhodea Japonica is a well known plant which flowers throughout the year in the tropical climates. The red fruits appear in autumn and are loved by the people of China. When the Rhodea Japonica is given to mark a special occasion, it conveys the wish of permanence, such as in relationships (marriage) or life (birthday). Together with the ganoderma(King of Miracle Herbs), the Rhodea Japonica forms the message: “All is well” (wanshiriyu). Combined with two lily plants, the message conveyed is ‘Harmony and Union to last ten thousand years (hehewannian)’.
This plant is very expensive and is used a lot in bonsai decorations especially during the Japanese New Year period.
During the Edo period of Japan (1603 – 1867), when gardening was at its peak, and gardening was all the rage from the ordinary citizen to the ruler called “Shogun”, all of them tried to collect various wild mutations and sell and buy the plants at expensive prices.
There are 7 kinds of variegation found in Japan but the Japanese favor the dwarf C.miniata with variegation & unique leaf shape is related to the history of Japanese horticulture. Overseas, strong vivid variegation is preferred but Japanese enthusiasts like very thin stripes.
There are 2 plants upon which the Japanese model their clivias, one is “OMOTO”(Rhodea japonica roth) which belongs to the Liliaceae, the other is “FUHKIRAN”(Neofinetia faciata) which belongs to orchidaceae.
– TORA-FU means “Tiger Variegation”, because the variegation looks like stripes on tiger’s body. TORA-FU clivia named “TAIHOH” is well known to Japanese enthusiasts, but the variegation is caused by virus infection.
– In the case of “FUHKIRAN”, enthusiasts also find the beauty in their beautiful red or blue roots.
The 2 species look like the “Daruma” strain in leaf shape, they have various kinds of variegation, and some of the commercial names of both plants are the same as “Daruma” strain clivias.
TWINS type C.miniata plants have been on sale at gardening shops for the last few years. In Japan, the Daruma strain of clivia is preferred as the AKEBONO Daruma can keep a good variegation after it becomes mature. “Daruma” strain have been welcomed by Japanese enthusiasts of traditional plants, they have made a unique world of Japanese clivias. But AKEBONO Daruma (short & broad leaf type) plants are not common. AKEBONO plants with long & narrow leaves have been around for long times, Reproduction of the plants usually depends on dividing offsets, because good AKEBONO seedlings cannot be obtained easily. AKEBONO plants are still rare in Japan; therefore enthusiasts are keen on getting the plants because when breeders tried pollinating common AKEBONO plants by using Daruma strain’s pollen, most of the seedlings could not keep the vivid white color of AKEBONO variegation when they matured, and were not suitable for sale.
— Jan 16, 2007
Omoto Shasei Chuukai 100 Pictures on Rhodea