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Glory Lily or Kalihari (Gloriosa superba L.)

Contributor: Pankaj Oudhia

Copyright (c) 2002. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Common (Indian) Names:
Hindi: Kalihari, Kathari, Kulhari, Languli
Gujerati: Dudhio Vacchonag
Canarase: Akkitang hall, Huliyuguru, Nangulika, Sivasaktibalb
Marathi: Indai, Karianag, Khadyanag
Sanskrit: Agnimukhi, Garbhapatani, Kalikari

Family: Liliaceae

Habitat: Common in forests. Under cultivation in fairly large areas of India.

Botany: Herbaceous, tall, stout climbing herb. Root-stock of arched, solid, fleshy-white cylindric tubers. Leaves sessile. Ovate lanceolate, tip ending in a tendril-like spiral. Flowers large solitary, axillary, changing colors from greenish yellow, orange, scarlet and crimson from blooming to fading. Fruits cupsule. Flowering time July in October to Indian conditions.

Related Species: Six tuberous-rooted species in tropical Africa and Asia have been reported. Difference between two major varieties G. superba and G. rothschildiana are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of Gloriosa superba and G. rothschildiana


Gloriosa superba

Gloriasa rothschildiana


Climbing 1.5 m or more

Tall climbing


Long-lanceolate to narrowly ovate-lanceolate

Broad lanceolate to broadly ovate lanceolate

Leaf length

10.2-12.7 cm

12.7–17.8 cm

Leaf width

1.3–2.5 cm

3.8–5.1 cm


linear to narrow lanceolate

oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate

Flower length

5.1–7.6 cm

5.1–7.6 cm

Flower color

Yellow changing to red

Whitish and yellow at the base, crimson and more or less margined above


Tropical Africa and Asia

Tropical Africa

Useful Parts: Tubers, leaves, and flowers.

Medicinal Properties and Uses: In Ayurveda and Yunani systems of medicine it is a reputed medicine. According to Ayurveda, tuber is pungent, bitter, acrid, heating, anthemirtic, laxative, alexiteric, abortifacient, and useful in ulcers, leprosy, piles, iflommations, abdominal pains, itching and thirst.

Chemical Constituents: Seed contain high level of colchicines. Cornigerine, 3-demethyl-N-formyl-N-deacetyl-b-lumicolchicine, 3-demethyl-g-lumicolchicine, 3-demethyl colchicines have been isolated from plant. b-sitosterol, its glucoside, a long chain fatty acid, b and g-lumiccolchicines from fresh tubers and luteolin, colchicines, N-formyldeacetylcolchicines and glucosides of 3-demethylcolchicine have been isolated from flowers.

Cultivation: Kalihari is under cultivation in many states of India particularly in South India.

Propagation: From its 'V' shaped tubers.

Spacing: 60 × 45 cm.

Season: Kharif (June-July in Indian conditions)

Manures and Fertilizers: In general, it is raised under organic farming. Initially before sowing 15–20 tonnes of farm yard manure is applied.

Insects & Diseases: No insect or disease have been reported in Indian conditions.

Maturity: 170–180 days after sowing.

Yield: 200 kg seed and 150 kg pericarp.

Resource Person:
Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management, (SOPAM)
28-A, College Road, Geeta Nagar,
Raipur- 492001 India.

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Last modified: July 15 2020 by aw