African Flame Lily

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Plantae Liliales Colchicaceae Gloriosa Gloriosa superba
  • Plant Type: Perennial Climbing herb.
  • Common Names: African Flame Lily, Climbing Lily, Creeping Lily, Glory lily, Gloriosa Lily, Tiger Claw.
  • Colors: Yellowish-green to Bright red. The margin of the flower is yellow.
  • Flower Dimensions: Each tepal is 2-3 inches in length.
  • Flowering Season: Mid-summer to fall.

African Flame Lily F

Gloriosa superba is a climbing herb belonging to Liliales. It can grow to a height of 1 meter.

African Flame Lily Flower

  • The African Lily plant uses modified leaf-tip tendrils for climbing.
  • African Flame Lilies grow from a thick tuberous rootstock.
  • Most African Lily plants have alternate leaves. The simple leaves are lance-shaped with tendrils.
  • The flowers of the Gloriosa superba consist of 6 tepals. These tepals are showy in bright red to orange with yellowish bases. The flower margins of the African Lily are wavy.
  • The flowers of the African Flame Lilies are on pedicels up to 7 ½ inches in length on the leaf axils.
Where can African Flame Lilies be mostly spotted?
Flower WatchingAfrica

Interesting Facts about African Flame Lily

Climbing Lily

  • A diamond brooch in a ‘Flame Lilys[1] shape was presented to the crown of Queen Elizabeth (when she was still a princess) during her visit to in 1947 then Rhodesia.
  • The plant is considered a danger to livestock because it has poisonous properties. All parts of G. superba[2] are toxic, especially the tubers. This may cause fatality when eaten.
  • In lower doses, African Flame Lilies[3] can be used in traditional medicine. In Asia and Africa, G. superba[4] is an important medicinal plant used to cure many diseases. It has antiabortion, purgative, antihelminthic, and antipyretic properties.
  • G. superba is included in the Red Data Book and is considered on the verge of extinction due to the overconsumption of the species for different medical purposes.
  • The seeds of G. superba[5] are rich in colchicine and colchicoside, putting the species in great demand globally. In addition, colchicine is medically used to treat gout and rheumatism.

Gloriosa Superba

Suggested Reading: All Flowers of The World

Cite This Page

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BioExplorer.net. (2023, October 02). African Flame Lily. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/african-flame-lily/.
BioExplorer.net. "African Flame Lily" Bio Explorer, 02 October 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/african-flame-lily/.
BioExplorer.net. "African Flame Lily" Bio Explorer, October 02 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/african-flame-lily/.
Key References
  • [1]“African Flame Lily – Flowers – Africa”. Accessed April 18, 2023. Link.
  • [2]“Gloriosa superba (Cat’s Claw, Climbing Lily, Flame Lily, Gloriosa Lily, Glory Lily, Superb Lily, Tiger’s Claw) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox”. Accessed April 18, 2023. Link.
  • [3]“Gloriosa lily, Gloriosa superba – Wisconsin Horticulture”. Accessed April 18, 2023. Link.
  • [4]“Review: Current Advances in Gloriosa superba L.| Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity”. Accessed April 18, 2023. Link.
  • [5]“Critical review on medicinally potent plant species: Gloriosa superba – ScienceDirect”. Accessed April 18, 2023. Link.

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