gladiolus, noun

Plurals:
gladioli, gladioluses, or unchanged.
Origin:
English, LatinShow more Transferred use of general English gladiolus wild iris or gladdon (now obsolete), from Latin, diminutive of gladius sword.
Any plant of the genus Gladiolus of the Iridaceae, having sword-shaped leaves, and spikes of brilliant flowers; also called pypie. See also aandblom, Afrikaner noun sense 1, painted lady. Also attributive.
Note:
Although members of the genus were known in Europe during the Middle Ages, the plants now cultivated worldwide are usually South African species.
1775 F. Masson in Phil. Trans. of Royal Soc. LXVI. 279We collected a great number of beautiful plants, particularly ixiae, irides, and gladioli.
1796 tr. of Thunberg’s Cape of G.H. in Pinkerton Voy. (1814) XVI. 65It (sc. a mole) feeds on several sorts of bulbous roots..especially Gladioluses, Ixias, Antholyas, and Irises.
1809 G. Valentia Voy. & Trav. I. 31The heaths were not in bloom, but the Ixiae, Gladioli, and smaller bulbous Geraniums were, and we could not have been at the Cape in a better season for collecting them.
1847 J. Barrow Autobiog. Memoir 217A walk by the foot of the Table Mountain will delight the admirer of the bulbous-rooted and liliaceous tribes of plants, flourishing in their native soil — the various species of amaryllis, the gladiolus, antholiza, iris, [etc.].
1856 R.E.E. Wilmot Diary (1984) 47Found a pretty rose coloured gladiolus of small size in the veld, and brought it home.
1906 B. Stoneman Plants & their Ways 198Gladiolus, A great variety of colours is found in the flowers...Eighty-one species of this large genus are found in South Africa.
1910 S. Afr. ‘Inquire Within’ (Cape Times) 89April,..Ranunculus, hyacinth,..anemone, and gladiolus bulbs must now be planted.
1928 J.W. Mathews in Jrnl of Botanical Soc. of S. Afr. XIV. 11Like various other typical South African genera with a large number of species, the distribution of Gladiolus is spread throughout all the Provinces of the Union.
1937 L.B. Creasey in Jrnl of Botanical Soc. of S. Afr. XXIII. 10In her flora, South Africa has paid a worthy contribution to the gardens of the world and, among our indigenous plants brought to horticultural perfection by hybridists, the Gladiolus stands supreme.
c1968 S. Candy Natal Coast Gardening 24Most Gladiolus flower approximately 90 days after planting...Corms should be planted 3–4 inches deep.
1988 T.J. Lindsay Shadow (1990) 4Grass and creepers concealed bunkers that pushed up out of the ground where once there had been beds of gladioli.
Any plant of the genus Gladiolus of the Iridaceae, having sword-shaped leaves, and spikes of brilliant flowers; also called pypie.

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17751988