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 x ramosus Paxt.

Gladiolus cardinalis x G. oppositiflorus hybrid, with heavy and broad leaves and flowers of a rosy-blush colour, with heavy carmine stains on the three lower divisions.  [Grey].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

Many cultivars and named varieties of Gladiolus x ramosus were available in the 19th century.  Johnson’s and Paxton’s Dictionary give a date of introduction of G. ramosus of 1838, the latter describing the flowers as rose-coloured.  This is probably the plant figured as G. ramosus in the Floricultural Cabinet in 1839, its flowers pink with deep crimson markings on the lower petals.  [FC p.121/1839].  It is undoubtedly the plant figured and described as Gladiolus ramosus in Paxton’s Magazine of Botany: ‘G. ramosus is a rare and highly valuable plant, introduced to this country from Holland about 3 years since, but a native of the Cape of Good Hope.  In the size and beauty of its flowers it yields to none of its congeners; and on account of its peculiarly branching habit, it may be considered the most ornamental species of the genus.’  The plant is shown with pink flowers, with darker pink markings on the lower three petals.  [MB p.99/1839]. 

‘At first sight [Gladiolus carmineus] recalls some of the form of G. ramosus Paxt., which is a hybrid between G. cardinalis Curt. and G. oppositiflorus Herb., but differs in its much more lax habit.’  [BM t.8068/1906].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.160/1845].  Probably introduced by John Bidwill.  [See Gladiolus cardinalis Curt.].


Gladiolus ramosus L. = Melasphaerula ramosa (L.) N.E.Br., BM synonyms Melasphearula graminea Ker-Gawl., M. parviflora Lodd., Gladiolus gramineus Thunb.  This has spreading, branched stems bearing erect, grass-like leaves and spikes of up to 7 star-like creamy-white or yellowish flowers in spring.  To 50cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  ‘Found by Thunberg at the Cape of Good Hope, on the Groenekloof Hills, and near Bergrivier; introduced into Kew Gardens, by Mr. Masson in 1787.’  [{BM t.615/1803].  ‘[As Melasphaerula parviflora] introduced by Mr. Synnet in 1821: with us it flowered in February.  It is a curious, though not showy, bulbous plant.’  [LBC no.1444/1828].

Gladiolus ramosus Burm.f. = Gladiolus recurvus L.  From the Cape district of South Africa it has pale grey to pinkish flowers with darker streaks on the lower petals on stems to 35cm, and was introduced to Britain in 1758.  [CECB, PD].  It is figured in Andrews' Botanical Repository as Gladiolus ringens Andr. var. cinereo-odorata.  [ABR pl. 27/1798].  FS f.422/1848.

Gladiolus ramosus N.E.Br. (1928) = Tritoniopsis ramosa (Eck. ex Klatt) G.J.Lewis, synonym Antholyza ramosa Klatt. 

None of the last three are likely identifications.  A number of other plants have also been described under this name.

Published Oct 26, 2009 - 05:02 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 12:06 PM

Shown are a leaf and widely funnel-shaped deep pink flowers with darker markings.  Paxton's Magazine of Botany p.99, 1839.

Gladiolus x ramosus Paxt. | MB p.99/1839 | RBGS

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Holland

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Gladiolus ramosus 

Confidence level high