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Flame lily (Gloriosa superba)

Sungsang or flame lily (Gloriosa superba) is one of the plant species in Liliaceae, grows up to 2 meters high in shrubs, teak forests, bamboo trees at an altitude of up to 2500 meters above sea level, but is widely used as an ornamental plant due to bright flower colors and distinctive shape.

G. superba is an annual herbaceous plant, growing with tuberous rhizomes, climbing using tendrils with stems up to 4 meters long. Leaves alternating, lanceolate with stretched ends and 13-20 cm long.

Dlium Flame lily (Gloriosa superba)

Sungsang has a corrugated flower tent, the upper part is red and the base is greenish yellow, has six corrugated tents and each measures 5 - 7.6 cm. The fruit is a fleshy capsule, 6 - 12 cm long and contains red seeds. Pollination is usually by butterflies and birds.

All parts of this plant contain colchicine where the leaves and tubers are about 0.1 - 0.8%, while those in the seeds are around 1.32%. Colchicine is a toxic and carcinogenic alkaloid compound that is soluble in water, alcohol and chloroform.

Giving colchicine to cells that are actively dividing will prevent the formation of spindle threads. Colchicine is able to bind to the main constituent proteins of microtubules, binding of microtubule proteins inhibits the process of chromosome transfer which prevents metaphase from anaphase and causes chromosome doubling without cytokinesis.



Today the flame lily has been widely cultivated for commercial purposes. Colchicine has been used effectively in the treatment of acute gout, intestinal worms, bruises, infertility and skin problems. It has also been used to remove thorns, nails, and skin parasites, antidotes to snake bites, laxatives and abortions.

Colchicine alkaloids have also been shown to be useful in the treatment of chronic ulcers, arthritis, cholera, abdominal pain, kidney problems, and typhus. Colchicine is widely used as an experimental tool in the study of cell division to inhibit mitosis, induce polyploidy and cancer treatment.

G. superba also contains gloriocine alkaloids which will experience nausea, vomiting, numbness and tingling around the mouth, burning in the throat, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea which causes dehydration to death. Long-term effects will include exfoliation and prolonged vaginal bleeding.

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Colchicaceae
Genus: Gloriosa
Species: G. superba

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