Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not So "Native Gladiolus"


Gladiolus Dalenii
'African Parrot'

African Parrot


When I first sat down at the computer this morning it was my original intention to do a post showing you all the daylilies that are blooming right now. Along with the daylilies the ‘African Parrot’ gladiolus are blooming, so I thought I would just throw in a picture of them as well. It occurred to me that I really didn’t know that much about them other than the name so I resolved to do a little research. What I discovered about them fascinated me, so I decided to share it with you.

Jamie and I have a wonderful friend named Carol that I’ve known for about 20 years now. She has a beautiful old home on a dirt road in south Alabama. Jamie and I had noticed wild glads growing on the side of the road a couple of years ago and made the decision to dig some up to bring back to our garden. I googled pictures of wild gladiolus in Alabama and found a picture of these flowers and were able to identify them as ‘African Parrot’. Until this morning I had left it at that and enjoyed the flowers. What I didn’t know was these glads were the first of seven brought to Europe in the 1600’s from Africa where they are native plants. ‘African Parrot’ or ‘Sword Lily’ was crossed with G. Oppositiflourus in 1823 to create the very first hybridized gladiolus; we inadvertently dug up the great grandfather of all modern day gladioli.

The plants were introduced to the United States sometime in the very early 1800’s. Even though these plants are considered native gladiolus because they have been growing wild for so many years, technically they aren’t. If you find the babies growing wild somewhere, you can just about count on the fact that in the last 334 years there has been a home somewhere nearby and someone now long gone from this world cherished the same blooms you have found by accident.

Gladiolus represent infatuation…

African Parrot

17 comments:

Antique ART Garden said...

I want to find some ! such an interesting post, thanks much, Gina

Phillip said...

They are gorgeous = I want some!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a lucky find. They are gorgeous. I have never seen such a plant. They wouldn't overwinter here unfortunately.

Southern Lady said...

Thanks for the interesting lesson. Your glads are just beautiful! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Carla

Cameron said...

I like them!

I planted a "Glad bag" this spring and the blooms just began opening yesterday.

Ann Flowers said...

A stunning photo of beautiful flowers. Thanks so much for posting these incredible delights of nature.

Darla said...

Jiminey Cricket! I saw this same glad in a ditch the other day....gorgeous and thanks for the history.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Those are beautiful. I don't remember ever seeing them in the years I loved in Alabama.

I have no idea where my glads originated, unfortunately they won't be growing wild in this cold climate.
Marnie

Chandramouli S said...

It is as beautiful as the parrots from Africa! I've never seen Gladiolus this HUGE!

Les said...

I have never heard of Glads naturalizing. It must have been a sight to see them on the side of the road.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Oh I love them they are so beautiful! I bought my first glads that were supposed to be a few colors. They all came up white. Very disappointing!

Rebecca said...

How wonderfully appropriate and descriptive the name! What an interesting history! You are blessed indeed to have found them.

Dirt Princess said...

My glads have looked really pitiful this year. I am not sure why. The blooms aren't as nice as they normally are

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

That, my friend, is one pretty glad, and not native looking at all. :) Can't wait to see some of the daylilies too.~~Dee

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Wow! There is a story and history behind each plant! It's a wonderful plant with gorgeous blooms!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Ooh, so colorful and dramatic!

Missy said...

Oh, I LOVE gladiolas! They are one of my favorite flowers...if I have any. I love all kind of plants. :)