African Plant Database

Gloriosa superba L.
Protologue : Sp. Pl. 1: 305 (1753)  
Information on the genus : Gloriosa
Status for MA : accepted (present)
Status for SA : accepted (present)
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Homotypic
 Gloriosa superba L. var. superba
 Eugone superba (L.) Salisb.
 Methonica superba (L.) Crantz
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Gloriosa abyssinica A. Rich.
=Methonica abyssinica (A. Rich.) Walp.
=Methonica doniana (Schult. & Schult. f.) Kunth (1843)
=Methonica leopoldii Van Houtte ex Lem.
=Methonica plantii Planch.
=Methonica platyphylla Klotzsch
=Gloriosa virescens Lindl.
=Methonica virescens (Lindl.) Kunth
=Gloriosa aurea f. latifolia Chiov.
=Gloriosa aurea f. angustifolia Chiov.
=Gloriosa aurea Chiov.
=Gloriosa carsonii Baker (1895)
=Gloriosa graminifolia var. heterophylla Chiov.
=Gloriosa simplex L.
=Methonica grandiflora Hook. (1860)
=Gloriosa superba var. angustifolia Baker (1879)
Taxon infra-specific
Gloriosa superba L. var. superba
Gloriosa superba var. graminifolia (Franch.) Hoenselaar (2005)
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Herb erect, simple or branched, sometimes less than 40 cm tall, or scandent or climbing to c. 3 m long; corm to 7x1,5 cm, elongated, often forked; leaves alternate, sometimes opposite or verticillate and somewhat clustered; blade from linear to ovate, 6-17,5x0,4-5 cm, apex acute, falcate, or ending in a tendril to 7 cm long; flowers axillary, sometimes terminal, solitary, cream, yellow, red, red or purple-brown with yellow margin, etc.; pedicel erect, recurved apically, 3,5-18 cm long; perianth segments reflexed, narrowly elliptic-linear to ovate, 2,9-8,5x0,4-3,8 cm, margins sometimes crisped, apex acuminate to acute, sometimes falcate; capsule 3,7-5x1-1,4 cm; seeds many, red.
Ecology : Open sandy plains, fully exposed; stony or rocky grounds; farmbush; open bushland (Commiphora, Acacia); roadsides; forest edges; thickets; woodland; cultivated land; semi-desert plains; short grassland; rain-forest; dry bush; Combretum, Terminalia woodland; along ditches; open places in forest; deep-grassed wooded meadows on river banks with Epilobium, Salix, Faurea; weed in garden; wooded rather damp slopes; savannas; forest edges; riparian and inundated forests; on volcanic ashes; often abundant; marigots; fallows; sandy-clayey hollows; 5-c. 2300 m alt.
  Extremely variable (see introductory discussion of Gloriosa above). Mathew gives a summary of various “species” in Bulb. Newsl. 13: 9-12, 1996.
  Bioko/Fernando Poo; Namibia-Caprivi Strip, Botswana, S. Africa, Swaziland; Madagascar, Seychelles; Yemen, India to Lesser Sunda Isl.
Biol./Eco : Herb, Liana, Geophyte; Humid, Subhumid, Dry, Subarid; Grassland, Thicket, Forest, Inselberg/Rock Face, Anthropic; 0-499 m, 500-999 m, 1000-1499 m; distribution: Africa. Asia, New World,

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • PEYRE DE FABRÈGUES B. & J. P. LEBRUN (1976). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Niger. Maison Alfort : 320
  • Cat. Pl. Vasc. Burkina Faso:36 (2012)
  • DARBYSHIRE, I. KORDOFAMI, M. & AL. (2015). The plants of Sudan and South Sudan, An annoted checklist. Kew Publishing : 78
  • CÉSAR J. & C. CHATELAIN (2019). Flore illustrée du Tchad. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de Genève, Coopération Suisse & Univ. N'Djaména : 89
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Record n°183263 modified 2007-04-02
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