Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Gladiolus communis L. subsp. byzantinus (Mill.) O.Bolòs & Vigo

Hardy, vigorous perennial with spikes of up to 20 funnel-shaped, deep magenta flowers in spring.  To 1m.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This and Gladiolus segetum (supra 719) have usually been accounted varieties of Gladiolus communis (supra 86) but, as appears to us, more from remissness in the observers, than from want of distinctive marks; this a comparison of their specific characters will shew, for which purpose we have subjoined a reformed one of communis. The present species has by far the largest and most ornamental corolla of the three; is a somewhat earlier blower than communis, somewhat shorter, but more robust, and never seeds in our gardens, which both the others do freely.  Blooms in June.  By the above synonyms seems to have been imported from the neighbourhood of Constantinople.’  [BM t.874/1805]. 

Gladiolus byzantinus has long been cultivated in English and Continental gardens’.  [Beal].  Introduced to Britain in 1629.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.124/1845].  Probably introduced by John Bidwill.  [See also Gladiolus cardinalis Curt.].


Gladiolus byzantinus Coss. ex Ball (1878) = Gladiolus illyricus W.D.JKoch, synonym Gladiolus communis L. subsp. illyricus (W.D.J.Koch) O.Bolòs & Vigo

Published Oct 25, 2009 - 10:13 AM | Last updated Aug 05, 2011 - 04:30 PM

Figured are lance-shaped leaf and large purplish flowers with red and yellow markings.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.874, 1805.

Gladiolus communis L. ssp. byzantinus (Mill.) O.Bolòs & Vigo | BM t.874/1805 | RBGS.  The flowers figured here are more purple than red.


Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Southern Europe to north Africa

  • Gladiolus byzantinus Mill. 


Common Name

Byzantine gladiolus, Turkish corn-flag, Greater corn-flag

Name in the Camden Park Record

Gladiolus Byzantinus


Confidence level high