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Football lily, blood lily, ball lily, fireball lily, blood flower, Katherine-wheel, oxtongue lily, poison root and powderpuff lily

Syn: Haemanthus multiflorus Martyn, Nerissa multiflorus (Martyn) Salisb., Amaryllis multiflora (Martyn) Tratt.

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Scadoxus multiflorus

Description: The football lily, or Scadoxus multiflorus, is an ornamental plant known for its striking spherical flower heads composed of numerous bright red, star-shaped flowers. It features broad, glossy green, lance-shaped leaves arranged in a rosette at the base, and a thick, fleshy pseudostem that supports the large blooms.

Scadoxus multiflorus

Scadoxus multiflorus

Substitutions: Scadoxus puniceus (Paintbrush Lily): This species also produces bright red to orange flower heads, though they are slightly more compact and less spherical than those of the football lily. The paintbrush lily is popular for its striking flowers and broad, glossy leaves. Scadoxus cinnabarinus: This species produces dense clusters of orange-red flowers atop sturdy stems. The leaves are long, slender, and elegant, making it a beautiful addition to garden settings. Scadoxus membranaceus: Known for its smaller, but equally vibrant, flower heads, this species has narrower leaves and a more delicate appearance compared to S. multiflorus. It is also appreciated for its ornamental value in gardens.

Scadoxus multiflorus

Ecology: Scadoxus multiflorus thrives in warm, humid climates with well-draining soil, moderate watering, and protection from frost, preferring bright, indirect light.

Scadoxus multiflorus

General Distribution: Scadoxus multiflorus is generally distributed across tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, particularly in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Scadoxus multiflorus

Use: Primarily used for decorative purposes in gardens and landscapes, it blooms in the summer. While it has some traditional medicinal uses, the plant contains toxic compounds, necessitating careful handling around pets and children.

Scadoxus multiflorus, blood lily

Scadoxus multiflorus

Author of text and photos: Chanduni Bootawatta.

Photographed in Matale, Sri Lanka on 18/05/2024.

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