Gladiolus cunonius (L.) Gaertn.

Cormous perennial with linear leaves, to 35cm long, spirally twisted towards the end and the spikes of up to 8 bright red flowers, with the 3 lower lobes yellow or green, appear in spring.  [RHSD, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Amidst that variety of tender bulbous plants which the Cape affords, there are none whose flowers can boast a richer scarlet, than the Antholyza here figured; in their form also, there is great singularity, and in their mode of growth much elegance; to us indeed it is matter of surprise that this plant should not be more generally cultivated, especially as its culture is attended with so little trouble:  Mr. Miller, who grew it in 1756, has minutely described it in his Dictionary; he informs us, that it is easily propagated by offsets, or raised from seeds; the latter, as the plant flowers in April and May, ripen about the middle of June, and thould be sown about the middle of August; the plant with the pot in which it has grown, after it has ripened its feeds, thould be set by in a shed or some dry place, and in the autumn the largest roots should be selected, and three of them planted in a pot of a moderate size, keeping them in an open frame till the approach of winter, when they are to be removed into the house with other green-house plants.

This species is found wild in Persia as well as at the Cape.’  [BM t.343/1795].

‘The floral emblem of the soldier, its leaves are sword-shaped and its banner-like flowers are red’.  [Gard. Chron. 1842].  Redouteé L pl.12/1802-15.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.134/1845].  Probably introduced by John Bidwill.  [See Gladiolus cardinalis Curt.].


Published Oct 25, 2009 - 03:01 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 12:08 PM

Figured is a spike of bright red flowers, yellow towards the base.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.343, 1795.

Gladiolus cunonius (L.) Gaertn. | BM t.343/1795 as Antholyza cunonia | BHL

More details about Gladiolus cunonius (L.) Gaertn.
Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Antholyza cunonia L. 
Common Name

Scarlet-flowered corn flag

Name in the Camden Park Record

Gladiolus cunonius 

Confidence level high