Gladiolus

Gladiolus species

Order: Liliales

Family: Iridaceae

Names:

Gladiolus is from the Latin gladiolus meaning a small sword and refers to the leaf shape.
Gladiolus alatus
Gladiolus angustus - Long-tubed Painted Lady
Gladiolus cardinalis
Gladiolus carneus
Gladiolus caryophyllaceus - Pink Gladiolus
Gladiolus communis
Gladiolus tristis
Gladiolus undulatus - Wavy Gladiolus

Other Names:

Summary:

Gladioli are tufted herbs with 3-6, erect and narrow sword shaped leaves arising annually from a perennial corm. The showy flower spikes are held erect above the basal leaves, the individual flowers are funnel shaped with 6 spreading lobes.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Stipules - None.
Petiole - None.
Blade - Strap like, sword shaped, folded lengthwise, joined along the edges and split at the base where it clasps the leaf on the other side of the stem.
Stem leaves - Smaller and bract like.

Stems:

Flower stem - to 1000 mm tall, usually leafy.

Flower head:

Groups of single, stalkless flowers borne in a finger like spike at the ends of stems. Large, papery, lance shaped leaf (spathe) under the flowers.

Flowers:

White, cream, pink, green or lilac.
Ovary - Style slender and cylindrical. Style branches undivided, folded lengthwise, parallel sided with a notched tip.
Perianth - Narrow tubular lower part and a trumpet shaped upper part. Usually curved.
Stamens - Bent, attached at the top of the narrow part of the floral tube. Filaments free.
Anthers - Attached at the base.

Fruit:

Globular to cylindric capsule.

Seeds:

Many, usually winged

Roots:

Corm, usually globular with a brown fibrous covering.

Key Characters:

Leaf blades not plicate (folded lengthwise).
Inflorescence unbranched and spike like or branched.
Flowers white, cream, pink, lilac or green and not all yellow or red and yellow.
Flowers sessile.
Perianth tube cylindric in the lower part, funnel shaped in the upper part.
Style branches spathulate or narrowly obovate and not divided.
2 floral bracts that are herbaceous, sometimes membranous or dry at the apex.
Corms
From Gillian Perry, Flora of Perth

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual leaves, stems and flowers with a perennial corm. Cormlets are planted in late spring to produce corms for planting. Flowers harvested when in the tight bud stage with the lower florets just showing colour, which is 70-140 days after planting. 3-4 leaves are left on the plant to develop the new corm. Corms are dug 4-6 weeks after harvest, cleaned, cured and stored at 3-70C for more than 6 weeks before replanting.

Physiology:

Sensitive to frost.
Sensitive to drought.
Sensitive to wind.
Flower quality reduced by high temperatures.

Reproduction:

Flowering times:

Spring to summer in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

Many hybrid types.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed and corms.

Origin and History:

Africa. Madagascar. Mediterranean.
Introduced as ornamentals.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
9 species naturalised in WA.

Gladiolus alatus
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Gladiolus angustus
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Gladiolus cardinalis
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Gladiolus carneus
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Gladiolus caryophyllaceus
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
Gladiolus caryophyllaceous (Wild Gladiolus) has somewhat hairy basal leaves which are often twisted. The flowers are pink to purplish, the tube 30-40 mm long and the lobes quite broad and 20-35 mm long. The stamens have yellow anthers. Reproduces by numerous seeds produced in a cylindric capsule.
Wild Gladiolus is native to South Africa, now a common weed of disturbed sites and spreading into woodland. Flowers in late winter and spring.


Gladiolus communis
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Gladiolus tristis
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Gladiolus undulatus
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
Gladiolus undulatus (Wavy Gladiolus) has flat and hairless basal leaves. The flowers are white or cream to greenish and occasionally with a slight pinkish tinge, the tube is 65-75 mm long and the narrow lobes 55-70 mm long and have a distinctly wavy margin. The stamens have purple anthers. Capsules are not formed in WA and the plant reproduces by numerous tiny cormels formed below the basal corm.
Wavy Gladiolus is native to South Africa, now a common weed along roadsides in wetter areas and along watercourses. Flowers in spring to early summer.


Gladiolus watsonius
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate. Mediterranean. Sub tropical.

Soil:

Prefers fertile, well drained sandy to clay loam soils with a pH of 5.5-6.5.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Cultivated ornamental.

Detrimental:

Weed of roadsides and disturbed bushland.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Planted at 150,000-225,000 corms/ha in commercial gardens.
Grazing and or cultivation usually provide control.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Dig up the plant and soil containing the bulb and many cormels. Burn the soil, soak in diesel or bury more than 1 metre deep.
Or spray leaves with 100 mL glyphosate (450g/L) plus 1 g metsulfuron (600g/kg) plus 25 mL wetting agent in 10 L water.
Or wipe leaves with a mixture of 1 L glyphosate (450g/L) plus 2 L water.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

They are sensitive to disease and fumigation is usually necessary, in commercial gardens, where Gladiolus has been grown previously.
Sensitive to thrips, Helicoverpa, and Cluster Grubs.
Sensitive to Botrytis, Curvularia, Fusarium, Septoria, Stromatinia, Bacterial scab, Bean Yellow Mosaic Virus and Cucumber Mosaic Virus.

Related plants:

Byzantine Gladiolus (Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus = Gladiolus illyricus)
Large-flowered Gladiolus (Gladiolus tristis = Gladiolus longicollis)
Long-tubed Painted Lady (Gladiolus angustus)
Pink Gladiolus (Gladiolus communis)
Wavy Gladiolus (Gladiolus undulatus)
Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus caryophyllaceus)
Gladiolus alatus
Gladiolus cardinalis
Gladiolus carneus
Gladiolus floribundus
Gladiolus gueinzii

Plants of similar appearance:

Babiana
Ixia
Chasmanthe
Crocosmia
Ferraria
Freesia
Moraea
Ornithogalum
Sparaxis
Tritonia
Watsonia

References:

Black, J.M. (1978). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P370-372. Diagrams.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P32. Photos.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #583.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P787, 793-794. Diagram.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P210-211.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.