Digital Dimdima
Let's Not Lose Them
Glorious Gloriosa
-By Rani Iyer

It was a day with poor visibility. Rain, fog, and whistling, cold winds prevented us from entering the forest where trees creaked, moaned and groaned. Branches crashed and there was no sign of the thick fog lifting. After a week of staying indoors, I had a severe case of cabin fever. So, I trekked in paths I knew the best. At least I thought so until I saw an unfamiliar red flower nodding through the fog. What a way to meet Gloriosa superba!
Called Flame lilies, they are bulbous, hardy perennials. Appearing from November to January, the flowers are brilliant red or yellow. They are found in Asia and Africa. The species is commercially grown for extraction of colchicines from its seeds, and glucosides have been isolated from flowers.

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In traditional medicine it is used to treat ulcers, leprosy, piles, intestinal worms, thirst, bruises, infertility, skin problem and impotence. Sap from the leaf tip is used for curing pimples and skin eruptions. Ingestion of all parts of the plants is extremely poisonous and can be fatal. The plants grow from seeds; the tubers are brittle and fragile and need to be handled carefully. Tubers can only be lifted and split or moved during the dormant period.
Once abundant in dry forests, they are now increasingly rare due to collections, and loss of habitat. Growing the plants commercially is not yet practised in India, although it has great potential. As man searches for medicines to cure new diseases, plants such as Gloriosa superba will become increasingly important. Watch them with care, for one day you will realize that you saw that last flower!

User's Comments                     
Gloria Roberts
The flower is also found in Brazil, where I am currently working in my institute for protection of rare species.
Anasuya Prasad
Having grown up in Coorg, I remember how "kovi hoovu" would spring up among the coffee bushes during the monsoons. In fact, it is also known as "Gowri Hoovu" in Kannada as it invariably starts blossoming during the Gowri - Ganesha festival. We used to take the bulbs to Mysore where they would flower quite successfully. Being in Delhi now, I can hardly tell you how happy I am that somebody cares for this magnificent plant. The way it changes colour from pale yellow to a red creeping up as the week goes on is nothing short of amazing - probably giving it the name " kovi hoovu" or "gun flower."
Dilip Shah
I came across your report while browsing, I find Glorisia Superba plant really interesting. Can you please help me with the details of the places it is found and grown in Maharashtra. What is it locally known as ? Please let me know immediatly
Dear sir, I am a college student . I am doing with cytogenetics and biotech .In II year of I have to work on a project and I have selected this plant. I stay in India . Will u please give me details how to grow this plant in lab ? What kind of media require to grow this plant ? Your information will be very much helpful for me . WITH REGARDS, Dhiraj Patil
Dear sir,I am a student.I want to do project based on this its medicinal value. So please give details about this plant as well as its medicinal value.
R.N.Inthira Kanthi
More details about the extraction procedures methodology and the ring stucture
Thenuka Jeyaram
Dear sir, I had these above tree recently from a international flower market in England. Currently having them in our living room. the information about the plant says it is poisonous, Is it good enough to grow them in the house? Also how harmful they are? please let me know more information about them, will be really helpful . Thank you
Gloriosa is commercially cultivated in Tamil Nadu. We in Tamil Nadu have been conducting research in this species on production, processing and value chain. More than 300 ton of seeds are produced and exported. The seeds are used to treat gout.
Ramesh Kumar
gloriosa superba is growing in Kodaikanal. On 14.10.09 I saw this flower in Sholai School campus. Which is superb.
Hello,It look like a Beloperone gtattua, his latin name. It is an acanthacae. In French, we called it plante crevette , but I don't know his name in english or japanese.
A.J. Pradhan
Gloriosa Superba - is grown in Kalimpong also since long time back for export purpose, if you are interested to grow them in quantity, you may please write to us for obtaining the tubers/bulbs.
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