Gloriosa is a genus of about 10 species in the family Colchicaceae, native to tropical Africa and Asia. They are classified as perennials, but are usually treated as half-hardy annuals.
They are known for their attractive, exotic-looking flowers that bloom from late spring to fall. These eye-catching climbers deserve pride of place in any garden with their vivid colors and distinctive shape. If you are looking for something special for your garden or home, or are finding it hard to find a particular plant that you’ve always wanted, Gloriosa is a perfect plant for you!
The genus name is derived comes from the Latin word “gloriosus”, which means “glorious”, referring to the flowers’ appearance.
“Flame Lily” is a common name given to a number of species of the genus Gloriosa, but usually refers to the Gloriosa superba.
Gloriosa symbolizes passion, proud, honor and glory, but can also represent purity and beauty.
Interesting facts about Gloriosa
Flame Lily (Gloriosa superba)
Gloriosa superba, widely known as Flame Lily, is a perennial herb native to south Asia and southern to south-eastern Africa. It is definitely the most popular species in the genus Gloriosa.
The species is scientifically known as Gloriosa superba. The specific epithet “superba” comes from the Latin “superbus”, meaning “proud”, “magnificent” or “superb”, in relation to the stunning flowers of this plant.
Gloriosa superba is also known as “Flame Lily”, “Climbing Lily” and “Glory Lily”.
The plant prefers rich and well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. It grows from a rhizome, an underground stem from which roots develop. It can grow upwards or along the ground, reaching a total height or length of about 4 m (13 feet). Its leaves are long and thin, with tendrils that allow it to grab structures and other plants. The plant produces unique flowers that have six reflexed tepals in shades of yellow, pink, orange, purple and red, but the most often color combinations are crimson red with a yellow base.
Flame Lily is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant for its large, colorful and showy blooms. It is also valued as a cut flower and is a great addition to special flower arrangements.
Several previous studies have demonstrated the medicinal value of this plant.
It is considered an important medicinal plant due to its traditional uses in the treatment of gout, wounds, snakebites, ulcers, arthritis, cholera, colic, kidney problems, typhus, itching, leprosy, bruises, sprains, hemorrhoids, cancer, impotence and infertility. The plant has also been used to treat acne, head lice and many types of internal parasites.
Flame Lily is the national flower of Zimbabwe.
The plant is very popular in Zimbabwe, where it is protected from illegal harvesting. It is protected under the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Act, making it a crime to pick, damage, possess or exchange the plant unless within the limits of a permit.
The species is highly toxic and may be fatal if ingested.
All parts of the plant contain colchicine, a toxic alkaloid that acts on the nervous system. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, numbness, vomiting, kidney failure, breathing difficulties and a feeling of suffocation. Furthermore, direct contact with the skin can result in skin irritation and rashes so you should wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid contact with the sap.
Despite its beauty, it is considered aninvasive weed in many countries including Australia, the Pacific Islands and the United States.
Flame Lily is regarded as one of the most invasive plants in Australia. This invasive environmental weed is often spread by dumping of garden waste in bushland. It will also spread quickly when untrimmed, which showcases the need for careful management.
Gloriosa Plant Data
Annuals, Bulbs, Climbers, Perennials
The flowers come in shades of red, orange, pink and yellow.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
Gloriosa usually grows to about 3 m (10 ft), but sometimes reaches more than 3 m (10 ft) in height and requires a trellis or wall to climb on. Some species, such as Gloriosa lutea (Gloriosa Lily), are smaller in size.
The plant prefers rich, well-drained soil that retains moisture. It will perform best in neutral to alkaline soil ranging from 5.8 to 6.5 on the pH scale.