Flame lily is a tuberous herb, which is widespread in tropical and southern Africa and in tropical Asia. The generic name Gloriosa means ‘full of glory’ and the specific epithet superba means ‘superb’, alluding to the striking red and yellow flowers. It is scandent, climbing using tendrils, the stem reaching 4 meters long. The leaves are mainly alternately arranged, but they may be opposite, as well. They are somewhat lance-shaped and tipped with tendrils, and they are up 13 to 20 centimeters long. The showy flower has six tepals each up to 5 to 7.6 centimeters long. They are generally bright red to orange at maturity, sometimes with yellowish bases. The margins may be quite wavy. The six stamens also are long, up to 4 centimeters, and each bears a large anther at the tip that drops large amounts of yellow pollen. The style may be more than 6 centimeters long. One flower may weigh over 2.5 grams. The fruit is a fleshy capsule up to 6 to 12 centimeters long containing red seeds.
Gloriosa superba's facts
This species is the national flower of Zimbabwe.
This plant is poisonous, toxic enough to cause human and animal fatalities if ingested.
Gloriosa superba's Behavior & Ecology
It grows in many types of habitat, including tropical jungles, forests, thickets, woodlands, grasslands, and sand dunes. It can grow in nutrient-poor soils. It can be found at as high as 2500 meters in elevation.
Gloriosa superba's Reproduction
The plant likely is pollinated by butterflies and some birds. The plant can be propagated sexually by seed or vegetatively by dividing the rhizome. Problems during cultivation include inadequate pollination.
Gloriosa superba's Relationship with Humans
Not known usage of thia plant in Maldives, but it is known that the alkaloid-rich plant has long been used as a traditional medicine in many cultures. It has been used in the treatment of gout, infertility, open wounds, snakebite, ulcers, arthritis, cholera, colic, kidney problems, typhus, itching, leprosy, bruises, sprains, hemorrhoids, cancer, impotence, nocturnal emission, smallpox, sexually transmitted diseases, and many types of internal parasites. It is an anthelmintic. It has been used as a laxative and an alexiteric. The sap is used to treat acne and head lice. In a pregnant woman, it may cause abortion. In parts of India, extracts of the rhizome are applied topically during childbirth to reduce labor pain.