Always white and cream Gladiolus A-Z

These colors are often associated with moth pollination, and so some of the most fragrant Gladiolus can be found in this category. In this overview, white forms of usually colorful species are omitted.


Gladiolus acuminatus F.Bolus is an endangered species known from no more than five locations. It is endemic to the Overberg, where it grows in stony shale on flats and in renosterveld. It has a long perianth tube and pale greenish cream fragrant flowers. Photo by Alan Horstmann.

Gladiolus acuminatus, Alan Horstmann


Gladiolus albens Goldblatt & J.C.Manning, syn. Gladiolus maculatus Sweet ssp. eburneus Oberm., is a narrow endemic of the Eastern Cape where it is found on grassy slopes and in fynbos type vegetation on light well drained soils. Although it grows primarily in a summer rainfall zone, the area where it grows does get some winter rainfall and this species flowers in the fall in April and May and has its main growth in winter after flowering. Plants are generally 25 to 50 cm high and the flowering spike has 1 to 3, rarely to 5, flowers. Flowers are white to cream, sometimes with faint speckles or streaks in the throat or all over the tepals, with a long slender perianth tube (35-50 mm) that expands in the upper part and have a dusty sweet scent. Photos taken by Rachel Saunders in the Eastern Cape.

Gladiolus albens, Rachel SaundersGladiolus albens, Rachel SaundersGladiolus albens, Rachel Saunders


Gladiolus angustus L. is found in wet places on sandstone soils in the northwest and southwest Cape. It blooms in spring with cream to pale pink flowers with reddish diamond-shaped markings on the lower tepals. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner. Some of the plants I grow have no markings, some light markings, and some deep markings.

Gladiolus angustus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus angustus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus angustus, Mary Sue Ittner


Gladiolus grandiflorus Andrews grows on clay slopes in the renosterveld in areas with winter rainfall and some year round rainfall. Growing from 25 to 50 cm, it has sword shaped leaves with thickened margins and midrib and cream to greenish flowers in a two to nine flowered spike, sometimes with a darker median streak on lower or all the tepals. If flowers September to October. Photos 1-3 by Mary Sue Ittner of plants grown from seed that had creamy white flowers marked in red and flowered late April, early May each year in her Northern California garden. Photo 4 taken by Bob Rutemoeller at Bontebok National Park September 2003. The last photo below from the book Plants of the Klein Karoo courtesy of Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok.

Gladiolus grandiflorus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus grandiflorus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus grandiflorus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus grandiflorus, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus grandiflorus, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok


Gladiolus griseus Goldblatt & J.C.Manning grows in calcareous sand and limestone soils right near the sea, all up the southwest coast to Saldanha. The total wild population of this species is estimated to be less than 250 plants. There are 3 to usually 6 to 15 small mauve to grey flowers with a yellow band across the upper third of the lower tepals edged in green and maroon. The dorsal tepal arches over the stamens and the lower narrow tepals are directed forward. The flowers are lightly fragrant and bee pollinated. This species is closely related to Gladiolus carinatus and sometimes difficult to distinguish from it. Bloom time is different as this species blooms earlier in winter (May to July). The flowers are also smaller and unbranched with the upper tepals arched forward and there are usually more flowers on a spike. Photos taken June 2011 by Rachel Saunders on the southwest Coast shows the variation in different plants.

Gladiolus griseus, southwest coast, Rachel SaundersGladiolus griseus, southwest coast, Rachel SaundersGladiolus griseus, southwest coast, Rachel Saunders


Gladiolus inandensis Baker is a species that grows in small clumps to 20 to 45 cm. It is mostly found on sandstone soils in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, but it also has been recorded in Lesotho. Plants are found on rocky grassland and flower early in the summer rainfall region, mostly July to August, extending into September. This species has small white to cream flowers flushed with purple on the outside of the tepals. The dorsal tepal is hooded over the stamens. This species is unusual in that the flowers are usually produced before the new leaves on short stems with the dry dead previous foliage leaves attached to their base. This species is very similar to Gladiolus wilsonii but that species produces a stem after the new leaves are produced and flowers at a different time. Photo from Rachel Saunders.

Gladiolus inandensis, Rachel Saunders


Gladiolus involutus D.Delaroche is found on clay slopes in renosterveld and grassland in areas with summer and winter rainfall. Flowering from winter into spring, it has white flowers with yellow-green markings on the lower tepals. Photo by Bob Werra.

Gladiolus involutus, Bob Werra


Gladiolus murielae syn. Acidanthera bicolor , Gladiolus callianthus , and Acidanthera murielae is a species with a wide distribution from northeastern Africa southward to Mozambique. It is often sold or described under the Acidanthera synonyms or, as it is most common in northern Ethiopia, sometimes called Abyssinian gladiolus. This species has long tubed white flowers with dark purple markings in the midline on the lower tepals or all tepals and is fragrant, more strongly at night. Since it comes from a tropical climate, it is often protected in colder climates and dug in the winter and stored and replanted after the last frost so that it will be summer growing, blooming late summer into fall. Photo 1 by Arnold Trachtenberg of plants blooming in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Photo 2 by Martin Bohnet illustrates the length of the tube.

Gladiolus murielae, Arnold TrachtenbergGladiolus murielae side view, Martin Bohnet


Gladiolus wilsonii grows in the Eastern Cape which is a summer rainfall area, but is a winter growing species that is listed as flowering from October to November. It grows in open grassland in light loamy sand. It has short tubed white to cream fragrant flowers. Sometimes the reverse of the upper tepals is flushed pink to purple toward the tips and sometimes the lower three tepals have a short pale mauve streak near the base. The first two photos by Cameron McMaster. The last three photos were taken January 2010 for this species near Maclear in the Eastern Cape by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner. Originally identified as Gladiolus inandensis which is very similar, it has now been identified as this species since the other species flowers July into August.

Gladiolus wilsonii, Cameron McMasterGladiolus wilsonii, Cameron McMasterGladiolus wilsonii, Maclear, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus wilsonii, Maclear, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus wilsonii, Maclear, Mary Sue Ittner


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