Cliffortia L. (Rosaceae), is one of the ten largest plant genera in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa. It extends beyond the CFR northwards to Namaqualand and eastwards through the Drakensberg, with two species extending into tropical Africa. The genus represents a variety growth forms that is rarely matched by other genera within the CFR, from ericoid shrubs to small trees, low, sprawling, semi-herbaceous ground covers and impenetrable, dense tangled thickets. All species are wind pollinated and there is little morphological variation in the flowers. Species differentiation within Cliffortia is based primarily upon vegetative characters and fruit morphology as opposed to pollination-driven characters. Some species require their roots to be constantly surrounded by water, while others exist in rock crevices of mountains on the arid edge of the Karoo.