Southern African Gladiolus Nine

There are about 163 species of Gladiolus (with new ones being discovered) in the area south of the Tropic of Capricorn and including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique. Some are found in winter rainfall areas and some in summer rainfall areas. For more information see Goldblatt and Manning, 1998. Southern African species from U-Z are pictured on this page.


Gladiolus index - 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 - Gladiolus Hybrids - Miscellaneous gladiolus


Gladiolus undulatus is a late spring summer flowering plant found on marshy sandstone slopes in the northwest and southwest Cape. It has whitish to cream flowers with pink diamonds on the lower tepals. Although it is similar to Gladiolus carneus, it has a much longer tube with wavy tepals. Given the right conditions in some areas outside of South Africa this species has naturalized. The first three photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner of flowers blooming various years in June in northern California. Photos 4-5 were taken in habitat by Andrew Harvie near Bainskloof. The last photo was taken by Rod Saunders.

Gladiolus undulatus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus undulatus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus undulatus, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus undulatus, Bainskloof, Andrew HarvieGladiolus undulatus, Bainskloof, Andrew HarvieGladiolus undulatus, Rod Saunders

Gladiolus uysiae is brownish purple with dark veining and fragrant. It flowers late winter to early spring and can be found on clay slopes in renosterveld. The first photo taken by Bob Rutemoeller shows one grown by Gordon Summerfield in South Africa blooming September 2003. Photos 2-4 were taken in habitat near Middelpos in the Roggeveld by Mary Sue Ittner and Bob Rutemoeller. The last photo was taken by by Cameron McMaster near Nieuwoudtville September 2011.

Gladiolus uysiae, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus uysiae, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus uysiae, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus uysiae, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus uysiae, Nieuwoudtville, Cameron McMaster

Gladiolus vaginatus grows on limestone and clay loam slopes in fynbos and renosterveld from the Cape peninsula to Caledon and Knysna. It has blue to gray flowers with dark streaks on the lower tepals and blooms late summer to fall. Photos taken near Napier by Cameron McMaster in the Overberg.

Gladiolus vaginatus, Cameron McMasterGladiolus vaginatus, Cameron McMaster

Gladiolus vandermerwei, syn. Antholyza vandermerwei, syn. Homoglossum vandermerwei, has a narrow distribution in the central part of the western Cape where it is found on shale slopes in renosterveld in dry habitats. It has bright red flowers with an elongate perianth tube. The lower tepals are short and narrow, yellowish in the lower half and arch outward. Photos taken near Bredasdorp in the Overberg by Cameron McMaster in September in different years.

Gladiolus vandermerwei, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMasterGladiolus vandermerwei, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMasterGladiolus vandermerwei, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMasterGladiolus vandermerwei, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster

Gladiolus venustus has flowers that are shades of purple to pink and sometimes dull yellow with yellow markings on the lower half of the lower tepals. It is widely distributed across the interior of the winter rainfall areas of southern Africa where it is found in dry habitats on clay and sandstone slopes. The primary pollinators are long tongued bees. It can be confused with Gladiolus scullyi and it has been included in that species at one time but it usually more colorful than that species which is usually greenish cream to yellow brown or beige and more highly scented. The dorsal tepal on Gladiolus scullyi is also more horizontal, inclined over the stamens and the upper two lateral tepals curve outward in an arc. But the distinctions are sometimes difficult to tell, especially in areas where they both grow. An example of this difficulty is shown in the third picture which I suppose could be either species. The first two photos by Mary Sue Ittner and Bob Rutemoeller were taken September 2006 in the Roggeveld. The third photo from Mary Sue Ittner was taken near Nieuwoudtville. The last three photos were taken by Bob Werra.

Gladiolus venustus, Middelpos, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus venustus, Middelpos, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus venustus or perhaps G. scullyi or an intergrade, Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus venustus, Bob WerraGladiolus venustus, Bob WerraGladiolus venustus, Bob Werra

Gladiolus vinosomaculatus grows in exposed and often dry sites (rocky hilltops and slopes in short grassland) and on rocky outcrops in the summer rainfall areas of southern Africa north of the Vaal River. The tepals are covered with large purple to reddish spots on a pale background. The leaves have long sheaths that form a short pseudostem. This species is closely related to Gladiolus ecklonii. Photo taken by Rod Saunders.

Gladiolus vinosomaculatus, Rod Saunders

Gladiolus violaceolineatus grows in the Cederberg Mountains, where it is generally found on south-facing sandstone slopes that remain moist throughout the winter, according to Goldblatt & Manning. The flower is pale violet with dark purple lines on the tepals, which are often narrower and longer than shown in these photos. The flowers are sweet-smelling, and reportedly bloom in early spring, although they may bloom a bit later at higher elevations. Photos by Michael Mace.

Gladiolus violaceolineatus, Michael MaceGladiolus violaceolineatus, Michael Mace

Gladiolus virescens grows on sandstone or clay slopes in a broad area flowering in late winter to spring. Flowers are yellow to pink with dark veins and very fragrant. The first photo shows a pink one grown by Alan Horstmann and photographed by Bob Rutemoeller. The next two photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner of plants grown from seed. The last two photos were taken by Andrew Harvie at the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

Gladiolus virescens, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus virescens, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus virescens, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus virescens, Andrew HarvieGladiolus virescens, Andrew Harvie

Two different color forms were photographed in the southwest Cape September 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller. The next three photos taken by Cameron McMaster at Boskloof and near Napier, both in the Overberg. The last picture shows the seed pods.

Gladiolus virescens, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus virescens, Bob RutemoellerGladiolus virescens Boskloof, Cameron McMasterGladiolus virescens Napier, Cameron McMasterGladiolus virescens seed pods Napier, Cameron McMaster

Gladiolus viridiflorus grows on rocky sandstone slopes in the northwest Cape. The first photo was taken by Sheila Burrow of a plant flowering exactly one year from sowing. The second photo from Rachel Saunders was taken near the Pakhuis Pass. Although it grows in many areas, it is small and difficult to see and not very common.

Gladiolus viridiflorus, Sheila BurrowGladiolus viridiflorus, Pakhuis Pass, Rachel Saunders

Gladiolus watermeyeri grows on rocky sandstone slopes in the Northwest Cape. It is very fragrant and we could smell the one growing near Nieuwoudtville in the first photo from Mary Sue Ittner before we saw it. Photo 2 was taken by Rod Saunders. Photos 3-4 from Cameron McMaster were also taken near Nieuwoudtville.

Gladiolus watermeyeri, Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus watermeyeri, Rod SaundersGladiolus watermeyeri, Nieuwoudtville, Cameron McMasterGladiolus watermeyeri, Nieuwoudtville, Cameron McMaster

Gladiolus watsonius has had multiple names over the years. It has been included in Watsonia, Homoglossum and Antholyza before settling in Gladiolus. It is found on clay and granite slopes in renosterveld in the northwest and southwest Cape. It blooms in late winter, early spring with an erect spike of red to orange flowers. The first photo below was taken by Bob Werra and the second by Susan Hayek in the greenhouse of Diana Chapman. Photos three to five by Mary Sue Ittner of plants at Telos and plants blooming in her garden in February 2007. The sixth photo was taken by Alan Horstmann.

Gladiolus watsonius, Bob WerraGladiolus watsonius, Susan HayekGladiolus watsonius, Telos, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus watsonius, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus watsonius, Mary Sue IttnerGladiolus watsonius, Alan Horstmann

The photo below shows some dormant corms. The tunics can sometimes have a papery outer layer, as shown by the larger corm on top. But the two smaller corms at center show the "teeth" at the bottom of the tunic that are typical for this species. Photo by Michael Mace.

Gladiolus watsonius corms, Michael Mace

Gladiolus wilsonii grows in the Eastern Cape which is a summer rainfall area, but is a winter growing species. 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. Photos by Cameron McMaster.

Gladiolus wilsonii, Cameron McMasterGladiolus wilsonii, Cameron McMaster

Gladiolus index - 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 - Gladiolus Hybrids - Miscellaneous gladiolus


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