The birth-month flower of August, it symbolizes strength of character. Gladioli are a member of the Iris family and are considered an herb. They bloom in late July and throughout August. There are 260 species and they are native to sub-Sahara Africa with about 10 of the species native to Eurasia.
The flowers of the wild barely resemble the lush full blossoms of the hybrids we buy in stores.The flower spikes can be anywhere from 4 feet tall to about 12 inches. The blooms all grow on one side and the flowers are bi-sexual. The blossoms on a spike are all the same color. The color range is amazing and even some grow with stripes.
Parts of the plant can be poisonous and parts can be used for healing medications. For example the dried and ground stem base when mixed with goat milk produces a tonic for colic.
Gladiolus comes to us from the Latin word gladius which means sword. It is sometimes called sword Lily thanks to the sword shaped leaves. We also get the word gladiator from this same Latin. Legends tell of glorious red flowers, that bloom on sword shaped leaves and spikes where blood from a sword has dropped.
This week we present Gladiolus Artz.