The Weird–and Deadly–Flower Known as the Gloriosa Lily

DaveFlowers, Ornamental gardening, WeirdLeave a Comment

Gloriosa Lily
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I noticed this oddity in a book I really like called Bizarre Botanicals, so I ordered a bulb from an online garden supply company and after I planted it, I thought it was dead, because it took nearly a month to start growing. But it finally did and is now blooming with the weird form shown above. This lily is actually a vine, and it spreads by way of the elongated leaves, which grasp anything that will support the plant, like hands grabbing and climbing a ladder. I guess I’ll have to buy one of those tacky plastic pot trellises to support it when I winter it over in my greenhouse. This lily is very dangerous. Wikipedia reports: “This plant is poisonous, toxic enough to cause human and animal fatalities if ingested. It has been used to commit murder, to achieve suicide, and to kill animals. Every part of the plant is poisonous, especially the tuberous rhizomes. 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. As the toxic syndrome progresses, rhabdomyolysis, ileus, respiratory depression, hypotension, coagulopathy, haematuria, altered mental status, seizures, coma, and ascending polyneuropathy may occur.” But I still like it.