Description[ edit ] "Red" immature flower This species is a perennial herb growing from a fleshy rhizome. They are somewhat lance-shaped and tipped with tendrils, and they are up 13  to 20 centimeters long. They are generally bright red  to orange  at maturity, sometimes with yellowish bases. The margins may be quite wavy.
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Description[ edit ] "Red" immature flower This species is a perennial herb growing from a fleshy rhizome.
They are somewhat lance-shaped and tipped with tendrils, and they are up 13  to 20 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. It has been used to commit murder, to achieve suicide,  and to kill animals. As with other members of the Colchicaceae, this plant contains high levels of colchicine , a toxic alkaloid. It also contains the alkaloid gloriocine. Within a few hours of the ingestion of a toxic amount of plant material, a victim may experience nausea , vomiting , numbness, and tingling around the mouth, burning in the throat, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea , which leads to dehydration.
One case report described a patient who accidentally ate the tubers and then experienced hair loss over her entire body, including complete baldness. 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 in great demand for medicinal use, so it is cultivated on farms in India, but most plant material sold into the pharmaceutical trade comes from wild populations. In Sri Lanka it has become rare, and in Orissa it is thought to be nearing extinction.
In Australia, for example, it now can be found growing in coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales. Problems during cultivation include inadequate pollination, fungal diseases such as leaf blight and tuber rot , and crop pests such as the moths Polytela gloriosa and Chrysodeixis chalcites.
In vitro experiments with plant tissue culture have been performed,  and some increased the yield. The fruits are dried and split, and the seeds are removed and dried further. The seeds and rhizomes are sold whole, as powder, or as oil extracts.
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Major constituents - Colchicine 0. Singaleri selection possesses 0. Soil and climate Well drained red loamy soils are suited for cultivation. The ideal pH should be 6. This can be cultivated up to m from mean sea level with an annual rainfall of 70 cm.
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