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Common Name : Glory lily     -       Scientific Name : Gloriosa superba (Colchicaceae)       -       Other Name : Niyangala (S)
Borupan Junction
Kuruttupandi Villu
Nelum Wila

This is an indigenous flowering climber and it is found in both wet and dry lowlands. Other than in Sri Lanka it is found in Africa and Asia.
The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

Every part of this plant is poisonous as it contains a highly toxic alkaloid, which is harmful to humans as well as some animals. Particularly if a human ingests the tuberous rhizome of this vine it is potent enough to cause death. It has also been used to commit murder, suicide, to induce abortion and to poison dogs.

However African Porcupines and some moles are reputed to be able to consume the roots with no ill effects. One species of moth in Sri Lanka uses this plant as its host plant and the larva feeds on the leaves of this species. I have photographed the caterpillars of this moth feeding on the leaves of this vine in my home garden in Colombo.

Parts of these plant and substances extracted from the plant have been used in Ayurveda medicine to cure a number of ailments.

I have observed this plant species in most of the National parks in the dry zone as well as in the forested areas in the wet zone. It is found along well-wooded roads and fields around Colombo as well.

It is common in Yala, Kumana, Udawalawa and Minneriya, Wasgouwa National parks. I have photographed the flowers in December and June.

In Wilpattu this species is not as common as in most other national parks and is mostly seen after the rains from October to January. I have seen this species in bloom at Kudapatessa, Kuruttupandi Villu Borupan Wila, Nelum Wila and at Ochchappukallu.