The name gladiolus comes from the Latin word gladius meaning sword for the shape of the flowers leaves. These flowers are native to Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Gladiolus were found growing over 2,000 years ago in the fields of Asia Minor where they where called ‘corn lilies’. They are in the same flower family as irises with colors ranging from white through green, cream, yellow, buff, orange, salmon, scarlet, pink, red, rose, lavender, purple and blue to smoky, tan and brown.
The color associated with August is yellow and means sincerity and “You pierce my heart”.
Gladiolus grew abundantly in the Holy Land and the waste lands along the Mediterranean coast of Africa and they are believed to be the biblical “lilies of the field.”
In the past, mashed gladiolus roots were used to draw out splinters and thorns and dried gladiolus seedpods were ground into powder and swallowed with goat’s milk, as a remedy for colic.
Sir Francis Fox, the engineer who built the bridge over the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, discovers a found gladioli flourishing in the mist of the falls. they adapted the the constant moisture by developing a hooded upper petal which kept its pollen-bearing stamens dry. Known as “Maid of the Mist” it introduced yellow and orange shades into the hybrid gladioli.