Gladiolus

Gladiolus is the largest genus in the Iridaceae family with 255 species. It has been studied by taxonomists and now includes Acidanthera, Homoglossum, Anomalesia, and Oenostachys along with species once included in Antholyza. The geographic range includes Africa, Madagascar, Europe, and the Middle East. Gladiolus has been a treasured flower in many areas of the world. Many of the fancy hybrids that are popular garden plants had their origins in some of the South African species. Telling apart the European species commonly grown is challenging for most of us, especially since seed exchanges use a multitude of different names for what is probably the same species. Angelo Porcelli has written a paper entitled Gladiolus of Southern Italy that helps distinguish between Gladiolus byzantinus (considered by some to be a synonymn of Gladiolus communis), Gladiolus communis, and Gladiolus italicus.

Gladiolus plants are subjected to Thrips, especially the ones that grow and bloom in warm weather.

The standard reference book for the South African Gladiolus species is probably Goldblatt & Manning's hefty Gladiolus in Southern Africa. Another useful reference is Gladiolus in Tropical Africa.

Many of the winter-growing South African species have delicate-looking, multicolored flowers that bear little resemblance to the large, bold-colored summer-growing hybrids found in garden centers. But many of them are tough plants that can persist in the ground in a mediterranean-climate garden, and a few species (particularly Gladiolus tristis) will spread themselves around the garden by seed. These spreaders probably shouldn't be grown next to wild land in mediterranean climates.

The name derives from gladius a short sword in Roman times (as in gladiator), and this is the name Pliny (around the first century AD) used in reference to the shape of the leaves of the species he was familiar with. It is said gladiators who survived were showered with gladioli and there is a Dutch saying "death or gladioli" which harks back to this.

Growing from seeds is not difficult for species in this genus. It is said that South African species require temperature under 20 °C to germinate successfully but Bill Richardson found that temperature fluctuation from -2 °C (28 °F) to nearly 20 °C (68 °F) during the day does not have a huge effect on germination. Since there are summer and winter growing species, one must choose the right time for planting. Winter growing species should be planted in the fall. Summer growing species should be sown in the spring, and require somewhat warm temperature to germinate well. Room temperature (25 °C/77 °F) works well. Sow the seeds in a well-drained mix and slightly cover with the mix. The papery wings that surround the seeds do not need to be removed. After sowing, place the pots in a tray with water and allow the medium to soak thoroughly. Above watering can dislodge the seeds and cause them to float to the surface. The seeds are most viable when planted within 1 year, although they can remain viable for longer. Allow a dry summer dormancy for the winter growing species and a dry winter dormancy for the summer growing species. It is probably best to not transplant the seedlings until they have completed their second season of growth.


Information on named species can be found on the wiki pages below or by clicking on the name of the species in the table.

The alternative Gladiolus indices list the same species sorted by color or growth cycle.


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Gladiolus species
Gladiolus abbreviatus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. abbreviatus
Gladiolus acuminatus, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. acuminatus
Gladiolus alatus, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. alatus
Gladiolus albens, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. albens
Gladiolus anatolicus, Oron Peri [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. anatolicus
Gladiolus angustus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. angustus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. antholyzoides
Gladiolus aquamontanus, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. aquamontanus
Gladiolus arcuatus?, Namaqualand, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. arcuatus
Gladiolus atroviolaceus, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. atroviolaceus
Gladiolus aureus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. aureus
Gladiolus bilineatus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. bilineatus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. blandus
Gladiolus blommesteinii, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. blommesteinii
Gladiolus bonaspei, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. bonaspei
Gladiolus brevifolius, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. brevifolius
Gladiolus brevitubus, Hermanus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. brevitubus
Gladiolus buckerveldii, Cederberg, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. buckerveldii
Gladiolus bullatus, Boskloof, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. bullatus
Gladiolus byzantinus, Angelo Porcelli [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. byzantinus
Gladiolus caeruleus, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. caeruleus
Gladiolus cardinalis, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. cardinalis
Gladiolus carinatus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. carinatus
Gladiolus carmineus, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. carmineus
Gladiolus carneus, Doug Westfall [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. carneus
Gladiolus caryophyllaceus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. caryophyllaceus
Gladiolus cataractarum habitat, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. cataractarum
Gladiolus ceresianus, Roggeveld, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. ceresianus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. citrinus
Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. communis
Gladiolus comptonii, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. comptonii
Gladiolus crassifolius, Maclear, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. crassifolius
Gladiolus crispulatus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. crispulatus
Gladiolus cunonius, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. cunonius
Gladiolus cylindraceus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. cylindraceus
Gladiolus dalenii, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. dalenii
Gladiolus debilis, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. debilis
Gladiolus delpierrei, Cederberg, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. delpierrei
Gladiolus densiflorus, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. densiflorus
Gladiolus deserticola, Richtersveld, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. deserticola
Gladiolus dolomiticus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. dolomiticus
Gladiolus ecklonii, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. ecklonii
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. edulis
Gladiolus equitans, Namaqualand, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. equitans
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. exilis
Gladiolus flanaganii in habitat, Callan Cohen [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. flanaganii
Gladiolus floribundus, Napier, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. floribundus
Gladiolus fourcadei, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. fourcadei
Gladiolus geardii, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. geardii
Gladiolus gracilis , Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. gracilis
Gladiolus grandiflorus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. grandiflorus
Gladiolus griseus, southwest coast, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. griseus
Gladiolus gueinzii, Otter Trail, Andrew Harvie [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. gueinzii
Gladiolus guthriei,Napier, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. guthriei
Gladiolus hirsutus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. hirsutus
Gladiolus hollandii, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. hollandii
Gladiolus huttonii, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. huttonii
Gladiolus hyalinus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. hyalinus
Gladiolus illyricus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. illyricus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. imbricatus
Gladiolus inandensis, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. inandensis
Gladiolus inflatus, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. inflatus
Gladiolus inflexus, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. inflexus
Gladiolus insolens, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. insolens
Gladiolus involutus, Bob Werra [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. involutus
Gladiolus italicus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. italicus
Gladiolus kamiesbergensis, Andrew Harvie [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. kamiesbergensis
Gladiolus karooicus, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. karooicus
Gladiolus liliaceus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. liliaceus
Gladiolus longicollis, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. longicollis
Gladiolus loteniensis, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. loteniensis
Gladiolus macneilii, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. macneilii
Gladiolus maculatus, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. maculatus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. magnificus
Gladiolus marlothii, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. marlothii
Gladiolus martleyi, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. martleyi
Gladiolus meliusculus, Darling, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. meliusculus
Gladiolus meridionalis, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. meridionalis
Gladiolus microcarpus, Sentinel Peak, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. microcarpus
Gladiolus miniatus, Dirk Wallace [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. miniatus
Gladiolus monticola, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. monticola
Gladiolus mortonius, Paul Tyerman [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. mortonius
Gladiolus mostertiae, Nieuwoudtville, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. mostertiae
Gladiolus murielae, Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. murielae
Gladiolus mutabilis, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. mutabilis
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. natalensis
Gladiolus ochroleucus, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. ochroleucus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. odoratus
Gladiolus oppositiflorus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. oppositiflorus
Gladiolus orchidiflorus, Namaqualand, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. orchidiflorus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. overbergensis
Gladiolus paludosus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. paludosus
Gladiolus palustris, Hans Joschko [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. palustris
Gladiolus papilio, Roy Herold [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. papilio
Gladiolus pappei, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. pappei
Gladiolus patersoniae, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. patersoniae
Gladiolus permeabilis, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. permeabilis
Gladiolus phoenix, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. phoenix
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. pillansii
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. primulinus
Gladiolus priorii, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. priorii
Gladiolus pritzelii, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. pritzelii
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. psittacinus
Gladiolus pubigerus, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. pubigerus
Gladiolus pulcherrimus, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. pulcherrimus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. punctulatus
Gladiolus quadrangularis, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. quadrangularis
Gladiolus quadrangulus, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. quadrangulus
Gladiolus recurvus, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. recurvus
Gladiolus rehmannii, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. rehmannii
Gladiolus rhodanthus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. rhodanthus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. robustus
Gladiolus rogersii, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. rogersii
Gladiolus roseovenosus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. roseovenosus
Gladiolus rudis, Caledon, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. rudis
Gladiolus rufomarginatus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. rufomarginatus
Gladiolus saccatus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. saccatus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. salmoneus
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. salteri
Gladiolus saundersii, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. saundersii
Gladiolus saxatilis, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. saxatilis
Gladiolus scabridus, KwaZulu-Natal, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. scabridus
Gladiolus scullyi, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. scullyi
Gladiolus sekukuniensis, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. sekukuniensis
Gladiolus serpenticola, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. serpenticola
Gladiolus speciosus, Darling, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. speciosus
Gladiolus splendens, Middelpos, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. splendens
Gladiolus stefaniae, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. stefaniae
Gladiolus stokoei, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. stokoei
Gladiolus subcaeruleus, Bot River, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. subcaeruleus
Gladiolus taubertianus, Cederberg, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. taubertianus
Gladiolus  teretifolius,  Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. teretifolius
Gladiolus citrinus, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. trichonemifolius
Gladiolus triphyllus, Angelo Porcelli [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. triphyllus
Gladiolus tristis, Sheila Burrow [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. tristis
Gladiolus undulatus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. undulatus
Gladiolus sp., Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. Unknown_Eurasian_Species
Gladiolus uysiae, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. uysiae
Gladiolus vaginatus, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. vaginatus
Gladiolus vandermerwei, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. vandermerwei
Gladiolus venustus, Middelpos, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. venustus
Gladiolus vernus, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. vernus
Gladiolus vinosomaculatus, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. vinosomaculatus
Gladiolus violaceolineatus, Michael Mace [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. violaceolineatus
Gladiolus virescens, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. virescens
Gladiolus viridiflorus, Sheila Burrow [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. viridiflorus
Gladiolus watermeyeri, Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. watermeyeri
Gladiolus watsonioides, John Grimshaw [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. watsonioides
Gladiolus watsonius, Bob Werra [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. watsonius
Gladiolus wilsonii, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
G. wilsonii

Southern African Gladiolus A-B - Southern African Gladiolus Ca - Southern African Gladiolus Ce-E - Southern African Gladiolus F-H - Southern African Gladiolus I-Me - Southern African Gladiolus Mi-Pa - Southern African Gladiolus Pe-R - Southern African Gladiolus S-T - Southern African Gladiolus U-Z - Gladiolus Hybrids - Miscellaneous Gladiolus


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