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 oppositiflorus Herb.

Half-hardy gladiolus with up to 8 leaves to 1m long, forming a fan, and spikes, up to 1.5m, bearing up to 35, sub-erect, funnel-shaped white or pale to deep pink flowers, to 10cm long, with a lilac-mauve keel and veins, borne alternately on the stem, in late summer.  [RHSD, Hortus, Grey].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘I believe alatus to belong to the same family as psittacinus, and also a beautiful species, imported, likewise, as I understand, from the neighbourhood of the Nathal River, which I propose to call G. oppositiflorus.  It is now sold by the Dutch nursery-men under the name floribundus, which has long been pre-occupied’.  [Herbert]. 

It was described but not figured in the Botanical Register, with a note from William Herbert: ‘A native of Madagascar, where it was found by Forbes, a young man employed some years since as a collector by the Horticultural Society.  The G. gandavensis of gardens is a cross between G. oppositiflorus and natalensis; so also is G. ramosus of the gardens, between G. oppositiflorus and cardinalis or cardinali-blandus.’  [BR misc.98/1842]. 

‘I suppose this fine Gladiolus to be identical with the oppositiflorus of Herbert, about which so much has been written in connection with the garden forms of the genus.  Herbert’s plant was never figured, and his description is a short one, but there is a specimen in the Kew Herbarium, which was given by Herbert to Sir William Hooker from his garden at Spofforth, near Knaresborough, which leaves little room for doubt that the plant now figured is the same species.’  [BM t.7292/1893].

Introduced from Madagascar in 1843 [JD].  But if the parentage given for G. x gandavensis is correct, oppositiflorus must have been introduced some years earlier.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.149/1845].  Probably introduced by John Bidwill.  [See Gladiolus cardinalis Curt.]. 


Published Oct 26, 2009 - 04:16 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 12:06 PM

Figured is sword-shaped leaf and a tall spike of funnel-shaped off white flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.7292, 1893.

Gladiolus oppositiflorus Herb. | BM t.7292/1893 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Southern Africa, including Madagascar

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Gladiolus oppositiflorus 

Confidence level high