Gloriosa supurba

Gloriosa supurba.

Family Colchicaceae.

Known as the Gloriosa lily or Creeping lily it is naturalised in Queensland.
Initially a garden plant it has escaped and is now an invasive weed.
Its root system is a network of creeping rhizomes that can develop massive numbers of tubers.
The long lived tubers remain when the foliage is destroyed making it difficult to eradicate.

The aboveground part is an annual with shiny, smooth stems up to 4 m long.
Stems are simple or branched and climb by leaf tendrils or just clambering over other plants.
The 1 to 2 cm tendrils are hook-like extensions of the leaf tip.
They can be missing or only on the upper leaves.

The stalkless leaves, mostly alternately arranged, have bases that sometimes sheath the stem.
Leaves are up to 25 cm long, and about 5 cm wide.
Leaf shape is variable and can be almost linear to elliptic, ovate or lanceolate.

The solitary, showy flowers are usually axillary but can be terminal.
They are on stalks that can be from 4 cm up to 18 cm long.
The end of the pedicel bends down at right angles but the flowers are held erect.

The perianth consists of 6 tepals – 3 sepals and 3 petals that are almost identical.
Each tepal is bent sharply backwards and can be up to 8 cm long.
They have clawed bases, are narrowly elliptic or sometimes ovate and have wavy edges.
Sometimes their bases are fused for up to 2 cm.

Tepals are mostly a bright red to orange sometimes with yellow bases.
The shades of red, and the markings vary and older flowers may be a purplish colour.

There are 6 projecting stamens up to 7 cm long.
Filaments can be flattened and the large anthers can be up to 10 or 15 mm long.
Anthers dehisce by longitudinal slits.

The ovary, up to 13 mm long, has 3 carpels.
Each locule contains numerous ovules with axile placentation.
The style can be 6 cm long and splits near the end into 3 branches.

The fruit is a fleshy capsule up to 12 cm long that matures from green to brown.
The round or ovoid, 4 mm long seeds are red when mature.

Reproduction is also by shoots from the numerous, persistent, underground tubers.

Gloriosa superba leaves and flowers are variable and there are numerous cultivars,
    hybrids and varieties ranging from whitish flowers to dwarf plants.