We enjoy highlighting a favorite flower and especially sharing the meaning behind some of these flowers. The Birth Flower of the Month post is a great way to do that! Gladiolus are a genus of species native to sub-saharan Africa, “Gladiola” meaning sword lily. They grow from a corm rather than a bulb and are only hardy in zones 8-11 although many people in the Northern United States are able to grow these beautiful flowers in their gardens by removing them from the soil and storing them indoors over winter.
Of the 260 species of Gladiola, 250 are endemic to South Africa and only 10 are endemic to Eurasia. The unmodified blooms of wild species are very small compared to hybrid varieties and are pollinated by bees, sunbirds, and hawk moths and are also food plants to many larvae including Lepidoptera species (butterflies).
This genus has been largely hybridized and there are more than 10,000 types of cultivars derived from only 7 species! Many were brought to Europe in the 18th cent
ury and have been hybridized into dazzling color varieties since.
Some parts of gladiolas are poisonous if ingested or irritating to the skin, however, Europeans often used powdered corms as a poultice to pull out splinters/thorns and as a solution for colic.
Gladiolas symbolize strength and moral integrity, infatuation, strength of character, faithfulness, honor, and remembrance. You will often see Gladiola used in funeral work for their stamina as well as their meaning. They are a long lasting bloom that will look stunning for days. We are currently holding a special on glads at 10 stems for $12.50 so be sure to stop in and pick some up!
* All photos used with permission through Flickr – Creative Commons Licensing