FLOWER OF THE MONTH
AUGUST - GLADIOLUS
The August flower is
Glads, as they are
often called, are native to tropical and South Africa and are any plant of the
genus Gladiolus. The plant has sword-shaped leaves with one-sided spikes of
funnel-shaped, bright flowers.
Discovered in South
Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries, the gladiolus was used as a food. In
ancient Rome, gladiator battles were fought ‘to the death or gladioli’ where
the victor was buried under gladioli by cheering crowds in celebration for
winning the fight.
It was from this
history that the glad has also become known as the ‘sword lily’ and referred to
as the flower of the Roman gladiators. The meaning attached to the flower is
that of moral character.
The name for the
flower is from the Latin word ‘gladius’ which means sword, a reference to the
shape of the plant leaves.
The earliest written
reference to the glad is in The Bible in the Book of Matthew (6:28) which
states, “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.”
experimentation started around 1800 in Britain with the earliest known Africa
gladiolus grown in Europe dating back to 1680.
Europeans were aware
of this flower for centuries as an inhabitant of fields where corn grew around
the Mediterranean Sea.
Europe received the
first South African species of gladiolus between 1739 and 1745. They were
delivered by Dutch and English ships that stopped in Cape Town for supplies and