Gloriosa superba

Gloriosa superba – Flame Lily

Extraordinary red/yellow flowers in mid-summer justify the rather immodest latin name.


This plant grows as a vine, reaching 2-3M. It will need support, but the tip of each leaf forms a tendril that is very good at grabbing anything it can.

All parts of the plant are toxic, especially the rhizomes, containing colchicine. It has been widely used in traditional medicine.


G. superba is native to tropical Africa, India and South-East Asia. My mother recalls seeing this in the hedgerows in Ghana when we lived there many years ago. G. superba is the national flower of Zimbabwe. It is invasive in Singapore, Australia and some Polynesian islands.

Soil / Aspect:

G. superba seems to rather like nutrient poor soils. It will grow, and flower, well in shade and sun.


This will die down in winter where it may be left in the ground. However, the rhizomes are easy to dig up, so you really don’t lose much by taking that precaution.