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Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’
(glo-ree-OH-suh su-PER-buh roth-SHIELD-ee-a-nuh)
Glory lily, Climbing lily, Flame lily, Tiger’s claw, Gloriosa
lily, Rothschild lily
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.
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.
Gloriosas will last up to two weeks as cut flowers if they
receive proper care throughout the distribution chain and in
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
“Caring for Cut Flowers,” by Rod Jones
Florists' Review magazine,
PlantFacts, of the Ohio State University,
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.