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Cut Flower
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gloriosa

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BOTANICAL NAME
Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’
(glo-ree-OH-suh su-PER-buh roth-SHIELD-ee-a-nuh)

COMMON NAMES
Glory lily, Climbing lily, Flame lily, Tiger’s claw, Gloriosa lily, Rothschild lily

DESCRIPTION
These dramatic, brightly colored flowers have strongly reflexed, wavy-edged petals featuring a flamelike pattern. The tuberous plants have a twining growth habit, with coiling tendrils that emerge from the tips of the leaves. The plants can grow up to 5 or 6 feet, and the blooms average 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

COLORS
The most familiar Gloriosa to florists, G. superba ‘Rothschildiana’, features brilliant red “flames” on the gold base of each petal. A relatively new cultivar, G. superba ‘Citrina’, has citron-yellow blooms with contrasting dark-red patches at the bases of the petals.

VASE LIFE
Gloriosas will last up to two weeks as cut flowers if they receive proper care throughout the distribution chain and in consumers’ homes.

AVAILABILITY
Gloriosas are available year-round from Holland although production is limited in January. From domestic sources, the flowers are available between April and August in limited supply.

VASE-LIFE EXTENDERS
PROCESSING Upon arrival, remove the plastic bags that surround the fully opened blooms, recut the stems, and treat the flowers with a hydrating solution. After the hydration treatment, place the flower stems into a properly prepared cold flower-food solution.
REFRIGERATION Refrigerate at no lower than 55 F. Temperatures lower than 55 F can cause petals to turn brown.
water Check the water level daily, and remove any dying blooms or foliage. Recut the stems every two or three days to ensure effective water uptake, and, at the same time, clean and refill containers or vases with properly prepared flower-food solution.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Gloriosa lilies are sensitive to ethylene gas, and they are nearly always treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower level. Check with your supplier to make sure they have been treated, and store them away from fruits and vegetables.

QUALITY CHECKLIST
WHAT TO LOOK FOR Look for healthy floral tissue and turgid green leaves with no signs of yellowing. These flowers are usually sold in five-stem bunches. It doesn’t matter if the pollen-containing anthers remain or not.
SAFE SHIPPING Gloriosas are harvested when they are fully opened. They are shipped in nitrogen-filled bags to prevent damage to the blossoms. The bags and nitrogen gas also inhibit ethylene gas and keep the humidity around the flowers high.

FUN FACTS
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus name “Gloriosa” comes from the Latin word “gloriosus,” which means “glorious.” The cultivar name, “Rothschildiana,” is in honor of British members of the Rothschild banking family, notably Lionel Water Rothschild, the second Baron Rothschild (1868-1937), and Ferdinand James de Rothschild (1839-1898), who had a large collection of orchids at Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire.
FAMILY Gloriosas are members of the Liliaceae family. Relatives include all species of Lilium (lilies), Ornithogalum (stars-of-Bethlehem), Hyacinthus (hyacinths) and Tulipa (tulips).
HOME SWEET HOME Gloriosas are native to tropical Africa and Asia.
TOXIC PLANTS Warn customers to use caution with these flowers around children and pets. All parts of Gloriosas, particularly the tubers (thickened roots), which resemble yams, are toxic if ingested. The plants contain the poisonous alkaloid colchicine.
FAMOUS FLOWER The Gloriosa was among tropical blooms featured on U.S. postage stamps issued in 1999. It is the national flower of Zimbabwe.

Reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Amy Bauer at abauer@superfloralretailing.com.

Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
“Caring for Cut Flowers,” by Rod Jones
Dave's Garden, www.davesgarden.com
Florida Gardener, www.floridagardener.com
Floridata, www.floridata.com
Florists' Review magazine, www.floristsreview.com
PlantFacts, of the Ohio State University, http://plantfacts.osu.edu

 

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.