Gloriosa superba, alias juju lily
Toxic from tuber to tendril. Lethal for man and animal. Fought as a weed in Australia. Sought for arrow poison in Nigeria. Almost extinct in India due to medicinal use.
But what a ravishing plant. The downward facing buds develop into upright ballerina’s, meanwhile changing from pale green to yellow and orange, only to die in a dramatic dark red. The leaves evolve into tendrils that grip anything in order to climb and spread. It is almost magical. No wonder the West-Africans gave it the proud nickname ‘juju’, meaning witchcraft.
August 2014, by Karolien Bais
Plants can be equally striking for their smell or stench, their stubbornness or benevolence, their secrecy or exuberance. Whatever their features, they can make my day.
Here are some of my doozies. The list might well become very long.