Flame Lily


African Flame Lily

Latin Name

Gloriosa superba


The African Flame Lily is a climbing herb with glossy leaves with twining tips that coil onto nearby bushes, enabling it to use other plants as support. The plant grows from an underground tuber, which is able to survive the dry season. The creeping stems, however, die off completely after fruiting.

The flowers have flame-like petals and outstretched stamens. The petals are crisped along the margins and curled backward to form rounded cage-like flowers. The colours of the flowers range from yellowish-green to bright red with yellow margins. The Flame Lily grows up to a height of 1 m.


The Flame Lily sprawls over rocks or low bushes and prefers savannah and thickets. It grows in the northern and eastern reaches of South Africa and into Zimbabwe and east Africa.

Field Notes

The Flame Lily is the national flower of Zimbabwe and a diamond brooch in the shape of a Flame Lily was presented to the crown princess [now Queen] Elizabeth during her visit to then Rhodesia in 1947. The Flame Lily is considered an invasive danger in part of Australia where it has spread rampantly. The plant has poisonous properties and is responsible for many deaths in livestock.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari