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 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

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