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.

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