THE WILD GLADIOLUS, Gladiolus ilyricus, is a native of south and west Europe but is considered to be a native of the British Isles with a very local distribution in the New Forest where it grows on acid grass heaths. The showy variety that I’ve drawn here is a florist’s variety of the plant, perhaps the Italian Gladiolus, Gladiolus italicus, which is the one most often grown in this country. It is sometimes seen growing as a garden escape on rubbish tips.

As you might guess, the name comes from the same root as ‘gladiator’. Gladius is the Roman word for a small sword; the name refers to the shape of the leaves.

Gladioli are members of the Iris family and I can see the resemblance to Yellow Flag.


Height: 16 - 47 cm.
Flower: 2.5 cm (1 inch)

THIS RELATIVE of the dandelion grows around the edges of the lawn, mainly on the shadier side. It tends to be larger than the Autumn Hawkbit which I drew the other day. It’s leaves aren’t as narrow as those of the Hawkbit and the teeth of Cat’s-ear don’t point backwards.

Cat’s-ear, Hypochaeris radicata, is a plant of meadows, heath, dunes, lawns and roadsides, on mildly acid soils. The ‘cat’s ear’ of its name refers to the scale-like bracts on its stem.