Gladiolus cardinalis Curt.

Half-hardy cormous perennial with lance-shaped leaves and arching stems of up to 12 widely funnel-shaped , bright red flowers with a white flash on the lip, in summer.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This new species of Gladiolus, of whose magnificence our figure can exhibit but an imperfect idea, was introduced into this country from Holland. […] It obviously differs from the other more tender plants of this genus, in the colour of its flowers, which are of a fine scarlet, with large white, somewhat rhomboidal spots, on several of the lowermost divisions of the corolla.’  [BM t.135/1790]. 

An important parent of modern gladioli, introduced to cultivation in 1789.  [JD].  ‘Once common in the wild it is now rare’. [Grey].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.132/1845].  ‘Several kinds of those [gladioli] you sent out [from England] which did not flower last year have flowered this, all very beautiful.  I am sorry to say however that G. cardinalis has disappeared.  Blake in his excessive desire to take particular care of it appears to have taken it up and to have put the roots away so completely that they cannot be found.  I was for a long time under the belief that they had been purposely replanted from seeing a large label with its name, but it proved that this belonged to a lot of seedlings, which fortunately have been preserved.’  Macarthur to Bidwill in Tahiti, 25th November, 1845.  [MP A2933-2 p.98.]  Roscoe pl.41/1831.


Gladiolus cardinalis Red. ex Steud. (1840) = Tritonia crocata (L.) Ker-Gawl.

Published Oct 25, 2009 - 02:54 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 12:08 PM

Figured are lance-shaped leaves and funnel-shaped , bright red flowers with a white flash.  Roscoe pl.41, 1831.

Gladiolus cardinalis Curt. | Roscoe pl.41/1831 | BHL

More details about Gladiolus cardinalis Curt.
Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

Common Name

Scarlet gladiolus, Superb gladiolus

Name in the Camden Park Record

Gladiolus cardinalis 

Confidence level high