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 hirsutus Jacq.

A variable cormous perennial, the leaves often fairly short, flowers in 3-6-flowered spike, whitish or pink to purple, streaked on the lower lobes with a darker colour.  To 50cm.  [RHSD, Hortus, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figures a number of varieties.  ‘The present variety flowers in May, and smells very like the flowers of Hawthorn or May.  It scarcely ever blows two years together of the same size or colour, varying from a deep purplish rose colour to a pale pink nearly white.  Much of its beauty depends on skilful cultivation.’  [BM t.574/1802].  ‘This small flowered variety blossoms as early as January.  Jacquin makes it a distinct species from the hirsutus of our No. 574; he had overlooked its pubescence, which when not searched for, by holding the plant against the light, is not easily perceived.’  [BM t.727/1804]. 

Introduced to Britain in 1795.  [JD].  BM t.823/1805.  BM t.992/1807.  ABR t.11/1798.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.145/1843].  Received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831.  [MP A2948].


Gladiolus hirsutus has been confused with Gladiolus caryophyllaceus (Burm.f.) Poir. which see. 

Published Oct 26, 2009 - 03:10 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 12:07 PM

Figured are lance-shaped leaves and deep pink funnel-shaped flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.574, 1802.

Gladiolus hirsutus Jacq. | BM t.574/1802 | RBGS

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Gladiolus roseus Andr.
  • Watsonia merianella Eckl. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Gladiolus hirsutus 

Confidence level high