Gladiolus flowering

Michael Mace
Mon, 06 Aug 2012 15:20:52 PDT
Terry wrote:

>> This glad has come into flower, once again no label - looking through the
wiki I've come to either G. priorii or G. watsonius.

This is a tough one.  Here's my two cents:

The yellow suggests G. priorii, but G. watsonius supposedly can sometimes
have some yellow in it.  I've been learning that color variation in the wild
is often a lot greater than what you see in photos online, so I am starting
to trust it less than I used to.  

My first impression of the flower shape was that it looked more like G.
watsonius to me.  In the G. priorii that I have the petals don't spread
quite as flat as your flower.  

In California, G. priorii blooms at close to Christmas time, which would be
about May-June your time.  The Goldblatt book on Gladiolus lists its bloom
time in South Africa as May and June, or occasionally April or July.  Bloom
time for G. watsonius is listed as August to September, occasionally July.
So the bloom time leans toward G. watsonius.

Regarding the leaves, Goldblatt says this:  "G. watsonius...has straight,
erect stems, rigid leaves with the margins and midribs strongly thickened."
G priorii has "slightly fleshy leaves without visible venation."  I think I
see some veins or ribs in your photos, which maybe suggests watsonius.  But
you can judge this best for yourself.  Feel the leaves -- if there are
ridges, that implies watsonius.

There are a couple of other species it could be -- G. teretifolius and
quadrangularis.  The main differences are some subtle variations in flower
shape, and tiresome details of leaf form.

Sorry I can't be more definitive.

San Jose, CA

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