The whole plant is very poisonous. It
contains colchicine which interferes with the way cells divide and can cause
abnormalities. In southern India it is used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating
gout and worms, as a laxative or to produce abortion. Colchicine from a
different plant is used in modern pharmaceuticals to treat gout.
Natural order Liliaceae - the genus Gloriosa comprises several species of very ornamental plants of the Lily kind, the name referring to the handsome flowers. The species illustrated is a native of tropical Asia and Africa, introduced into England where it is grown in hothouses in 1860. Drawings of Indian plants and trees later named at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.