Thursday, July 5, 2007

Gladiolus stellatus

Gladiolus stellatus is a delicate species native the the Cape in South Africa. I collected seeds in the early 90's without knowing what species it was (many bulbous species had mature seed in October when I was there, but the flowers were mostly gone). I grew some out, and one turned out to be this delightful species. It manages to grow under lights for the winter, and sends up flower spikes which I have to bend to keep them from running into the light tubes. Later it goes outside, to flower, set seed, and ripen the small corms. It is odd for a gladiolus in that the flowers are almost radial rather than bilateral in symmetry. It is extremely fragrant during part of the day, more than one would think for such a wispy looking flower. Like most of its Cape relatives, it needs bone dry conditions during its summer dormancy.

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