Gloriosa superba L.

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Gloriosa superba

Photo: Frances Murray-Hudson
Near Thamlakhane River, Maun

Gloriosa superba

Photo: Frances Murray-Hudson
Near Thamlakhane River, Maun

Gloriosa superba

Photo: Frances Murray-Hudson
Near Thamlakhane River, Maun

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Synonyms: Gloriosa carsonii Baker
Gloriosa lutea Hort.
Gloriosa simplex L.
Gloriosa virescens Lindl.
Common names: Flame lily (English)
Status: Native
Erect or scandent herb, with annual stems growing from an elongated, often forked corm. Stems up to c. 3 m long in climbing plants, much shorter when erect. Leaves numerous, opposite, whorled or alternate along the stem, variable from linear to broadly ovate, 6-15 cm long excluding an often tendrillous, coiled apex up to 7 cm long. Flowers axillary on a pedicel, 9-13 cm, bent near the apex. Tepals much reflexed, oblanceolate or spathulate, 5-8.3 cm long more or less strongly undulate margins. Flower colour very variable, cream, yellow, orange, red, maroon or purple-brown, many forms with yellow margins on the tepals.
Derivation of specific name: superba: superb, proud, referring to the spectacular flowers
Habitat: Various woodland types, thicket margins, rocky terrain and termite mounds.
Flowering time:Dec - Feb
Worldwide distribution: Throughout tropical Africa, Asia and Indian Ocean islands.
Botswana distribution: N,SE
Growth form(s): Climber.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: spilosoma lineata (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 10 June 2020

Bandeira, S., Bolnick, D. & Barbosa, F. (2007). Wild Flowers of Southern Mozambique Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique Page 54. (Includes a picture).

Baumann, G. (2005). Photographic Guide to Wildflowers of Malawi Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Pages 202 - 203. also as Gloriosa carsonii (Includes a picture).

Bolnick, D. (2007). A Guide to the Common Wild Flowers of Zambia and Neighbouring Regions Revised Edition. WECS, Lusaka, Zambia Page 63. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 294. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 28.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 18.

Fabian, A. & Germishuizen, G. (1997). Wild Flowers of Northern South Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeburg. Pages 36 - 37. (Includes a picture).

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 120. (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. (2009). Colchicaceae Flora Zambesiaca 12(2) Pages 182 - 185. (Includes a picture).

Linley, K. & Baker, B. (1972). Flowers of the Veld Bundu Series Longman Zimbabwe Pages 12 - 13. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 86.

Maroyi, A (2002). Colchicaceae in Zimbabwe Kirkia 18(1) Page 3.

Maroyi, A. (2012). The genus Gloriosa (Colchicaceae) - ethnobotany, phylogeny and taxonomy Wageningen University, Netherlands Pages 1 - 194. (Includes a picture).

Moriarty, A. (1975). Wild Flowers of Malawi Purnell & sons Cape Town. Page 20. Also as Gloriosa virescens (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 49. (Includes a picture).

Plowes, D.C.H. & Drummond, R.B. (1990). Wild Flowers of Zimbabwe. Revised edition. Longman, Zimbabwe. No. 3, plate 13,14 & 15

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 26 - 27. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 117.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 25.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 69.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 181.

Vinnersten, A. & Manning, J. (2007). A new classification of Colchicaceae. Taxon 56 Pages 171 - 178.

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 81.

Other sources of information about Gloriosa superba:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Gloriosa superba
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Gloriosa superba
Flora of Malawi: Gloriosa superba
Flora of Mozambique: Gloriosa superba
Flora of Zambia: Gloriosa superba
Flora of Zimbabwe: Gloriosa superba
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Gloriosa superba

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Gloriosa superba
African Plant Database: Gloriosa superba
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Gloriosa superba
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Gloriosa superba
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Gloriosa superba
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Gloriosa superba
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Gloriosa superba
JSTOR Plant Science: Gloriosa superba
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Gloriosa superba
Plants of the World Online: Gloriosa superba
Tropicos: Gloriosa superba
Wikipedia: Gloriosa superba

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Botswana: Species information: Gloriosa superba., retrieved 25 May 2024

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