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History of Gladioluses

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Gladiolus – "Sword" Flower

The name Gladiolus is derived from the Latin word gladius, meaning sword for the shape of its leaves. An ancient name for the gladiolus was xiphium from the Greek word xiphos, also meaning sword, thus these plants have been commonly called Sword Lilies and Corn Lilies.

This eye-catching flower is native to South Africa and blooms in nearly every colour except "real" blue and black.

The first hybrid glads appeared in 1837 in Belgium. It was Gladiolus gandavensis. Improved types were first developed from crosses of several species native to the Mediterranean area of Europe. In 1880 Gladiolus gandavensis had already more than 2000 kinds. Later discovery of African species led to crosses, which produced the forerunners of the attractive large-flowered types we know today. African gladioli were imported to Europe from South Africa during the 18th century. The gladioli we know today are all hybrids.