Colours and shapes
It’s a stunning sight: the flame lily has a delicate fresh green stem, out of which grow elegant chartreuse yellow dancing stamens. Above that are six undulating flaming petals which open out like a butterfly. It's one of nature's brilliant achievements. There are two types of lily: short with a bare stem, and taller with leaves and branches. It's a beautiful flower for a bouquet or formal arrangement, but its stunning appearance means it's equally attractive placed solo in a small vase, tumbler or jam jar.
The flame lily is an unusual plant: a tuber that develops into a spectacular climber. It pulls itself up with small loops at the tips of the leaves, that hook the plant to a surface like a ladder. It's why these flowers represent ambition and success, making them the ideal gift for someone starting a new job or experiencing a new beginning.
The flame lily grows wild in southern Africa, and is the national flower of Zimbabwe. It is also widely cultivated in India for its medicinal properties. The flower's official name is Gloriosa rothschildiana, named after zoologist Lionel Rothschild. It is sometimes also called the glory lily — justafiably so.