Widely available in Sydney in March the Gloriosa is a showy bloom prized by florist for it's vivid colours and exotic shape. Gloriosa flowers look amazing in a vase or as part of an arrangement mixed with other complimentary flowers.
Gloriosa is a genus of 12 species in the plant family Colchicaceae, and include the formerly recognised genus Littonia. They are native in tropical and southern Africa to Asia, and naturalised in Australia and the Pacific as well as being widely cultivated. The most common English names are flame lily, fire lily, gloriosa lily, glory lily, superb lily, climbing lily, and creeping lily.
Gloriosa are perennial herbs that climb or scramble over other plants with the aid of tendrils at the ends of their leaves and can reach 3 meters in height. They have showy flowers, many with distinctive and pronouncedly reflexed petals, like a Turk’s cap lily, ranging in colour from a greenish-yellow through yellow, orange, red and sometimes even a deep pinkish-red. Some synonyms, arising from the many variations, for Gloriosa superba include G. rothschildiana (or G. superba ‘Rothschildiana’), G. simplex, G. virescens, G. abyssinica, G. carsonii and G. lutea
They are tender, tuberous rooted deciduous perennials, adapted to summer rainfall with a dormant dry season. All parts of the plant contain colchicine and related alkaloids and are therefore dangerously toxic if ingested, and contact with the stems and leaves can cause skin irritation. Various preparations of the plant are used in traditional medicines for a variety of complaints in both Africa and India. It is state flower (Kaanthal ) of Tamil Nadu. In Indian language of Telugu, in the state of Andhra Pradesh it is called Naabhi and was used in traditional medicine.