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Eastern Gladiolus

Gladiolus communis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Iridaceae (Iris)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
70 centimetres tall
Fields, roadsides, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 6 petals
The inflorescence is an erect spike of 10 to 20 bright pinkish-purple, funnel-shaped flowers. Flowers measure approximately 5cm wide.
An oblong or globose, 3-angled capsule. The many seeds of the fruit are brown and winged.
A clump-forming perennial with narrow, strap-shaped leaves. Tall stems. The root is a corm.
Other Names:
Byzantine Gladiolus, Common Corn-flag, Common Gladiolus.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Gladiolus communis, commonly known as the common gladiolus, is a species of flowering plant in the iris family. It is native to Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland, as well as western and central Asia.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing up to 70 cm tall. The leaves are narrow, grass-like and basal. The flowers are arranged on a tall spike, with each spike having several flowers that are large and funnel-shaped, usually pink, purple, or white. They appear in late spring to early summer. They prefer well-drained soils and a sunny position. It is hardy and also easy to propagate from corms which can be planted in fall. They are popular garden plants and also used for cut flowers. It is also considered as an invasive species in some region and it can outcompete the native vegetation if not controlled.


Eastern Gladiolus, scientifically known as Gladiolus communis, is a stunning flowering plant native to the eastern Mediterranean region, including Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus. With its tall spikes of vibrant flowers in shades of pink, purple, and white, it is a favorite among gardeners and florists alike.

Appearance and Characteristics

The Eastern Gladiolus is a perennial plant that grows up to 70 cm tall. It produces spikes of funnel-shaped flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer. Each spike can contain up to 20 flowers, which open gradually from the bottom up. The flowers are symmetrical, with six petals arranged in two whorls of three. The upper three petals are smaller than the lower three and are often marked with a contrasting color. The leaves are long and narrow, and the plant produces corms, which are underground storage structures that allow the plant to survive dormant periods.


Eastern Gladiolus is a relatively easy plant to grow and is suitable for both garden and container cultivation. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. The corms should be planted in the fall, around 10-15 cm deep and 10-15 cm apart, and watered well. The plant requires regular watering during the growing season, but the soil should be allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. Eastern Gladiolus can be propagated by division of the corms in the fall or by sowing seed in the spring.


Eastern Gladiolus is commonly grown for its ornamental value, and the cut flowers are used in floral arrangements. The plant is also believed to have medicinal properties, and the corms have been used traditionally to treat various ailments, including diarrhea, fever, and sore throat.


The Eastern Gladiolus is a beautiful and versatile plant that can brighten up any garden or floral arrangement. With its striking flowers and relatively easy cultivation, it is no wonder that it has become a favorite among gardeners and florists alike. So, if you are looking for a splash of color in your garden or want to add some drama to your floral arrangements, consider planting the Eastern Gladiolus.

More Information

Eastern Gladiolus, like many other gladiolus varieties, has a long history of cultivation and has been prized for its beauty for centuries. It was originally cultivated by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it for both ornamental and medicinal purposes. In fact, the name "gladiolus" comes from the Latin word "gladius," which means sword, referring to the shape of the plant's leaves.

Today, Eastern Gladiolus is still widely grown and appreciated for its beauty. Its flowers come in a wide range of colors, from soft pastels to bold and bright shades, making it a popular choice for gardeners and florists who want to add a pop of color to their landscapes or arrangements.

In addition to its ornamental value, Eastern Gladiolus also has some interesting ecological features. The plant is pollinated by a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies, and is an important food source for some species of moths and birds. Its corms are also a valuable food source for wildlife, such as rodents and rabbits.

While Eastern Gladiolus is generally a hardy plant, it can be susceptible to some diseases and pests, including thrips, spider mites, and corm rot. It is important to monitor the plant regularly and take steps to prevent and treat any problems that arise.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological value, Eastern Gladiolus has some interesting cultural significance. In Greek mythology, gladiolus flowers were said to represent strength and moral integrity. They were also associated with the goddess Demeter, who was the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and fertility. In ancient Rome, gladiolus flowers were used in the celebration of the gladiatorial games, where they were tossed into the arena to honor the victorious gladiators.

Today, Eastern Gladiolus is still used in cultural celebrations and events. In Greece, the plant is often included in traditional floral arrangements for weddings and other special occasions. In Turkey, the flowers are sometimes used in traditional medicine as a treatment for respiratory infections.

If you are interested in growing Eastern Gladiolus in your garden, there are many different cultivars to choose from. Some popular varieties include 'The Bride' (a white flower with a yellow center), 'Ruby' (a deep red flower), and 'Princess Margaret' (a pink flower with a white center).

In addition to its beauty and cultural significance, Eastern Gladiolus is also a low-maintenance plant that requires little attention once it is established. With proper care, this plant can provide years of enjoyment and beauty, making it a great addition to any garden or landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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