Gladiolus papilio

Gladiolus papilio

The ancient name for gladiolus was xiphium from the Greek word xiphos, meaning sword. Its name was later changed to gladiolus, which comes from the Latin wordgladius, which also means sword.

The genus includes around 260 species with many thousands of registered cultivars. Most gladioli originated in Africa and were not known in Europe until the mif 1750s when they were introduced by travelers following the Indian Trade Route. European botanists and hobbyist soon began to grow and breed gladiolus flowers. By 1806, William Herbert produced the first hybrid. He crossed G. tristus (night scent) and G recurvus (violet scent during the day) and named it ‘fragrans’.

Gladiolus require well drained fertile loamy soil. Water logged, heavy sticky soil will result in decaying of corms as well as delay in growth of plants. The planting position should have a sunny situation protected from wind, by wind breaks or hedge. It produces bigger size flowers in areas with moderate humidity. Shallow planting of corms i.e. at the depth of 5-10 cm is essential. Deep planting will result into poor production of cormels and also cause decaying of corms.

Description and Distribution:
This South African species never fails to grab visitors attention when it is in flower and is perfectly hardy in the ground here in Launceston. The flowers are somewhat hooded and are white brushed with purple on the outside and a yellow splash outlined in maroon inside. The species name is said to mean butterfly or related to a butterfly.

Availability:
Small numbers from our nursery.

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Posted on

January 23, 2018