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…