This thesis focuses on the ethnobotany, phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus Gloriosa L. over its distributional range. Some Gloriosa species are known to have economic and commercial value, but the genus is also well known for its complex alpha taxonomy. An appropriate taxonomy for this group is of great importance because it includes widely used species as traditional medicine, horticultural plants and sources of industrial and pharmaceutical chemical colchicine. The seeds and tubers of G. superba are valued as a commercial source of colchicine. The genus Gloriosa has considerable horticultural appeal because of the conspicuous inflorescence of its members and the ease with which taxa are propagated, introduced into new areas and hybridise in cultivation. G. carsonii, G. modesta, G. simplex and G. superba have been taken into cultivation as ornamental plants in several countries, including native countries of these species.
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