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Gladiolus alatus (Kalkoentjie, Red kalkoentjie)

Kalkoentjie [Afrikaans]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Iridaceae > Genus: Gladiolus

Gladiolus alatus  Gladiolus alatus

Gladiolus alatus flowering in spring north of Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

Gladiolus alatus flowering in spring in Renosterveld in the Boland, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

Gladiolus alatus  Gladiolus alatus

Gladiolus alatus flowering at Gifberg near Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape, South Africa. [photos H.G. Robertson, Iziko ]


Unless otherwise indicated, information is from Goldblatt and Manning (1998 pp. 230-232).

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to the Western Cape, South Africa, the distribution covering the southwestern portion of the province, from the Bokkeveld Escarpment near Nieuwoudtville south to Cape Town and east to Bredasdorp. Plants occur mainly on stony sandstone or granitic soils, especially on thin soils and in rock crevices. It is a pioneer species, resistant to drought, that quickly colonizes disturbed areas such as road verges and field borders.

Life cycle

  • A geophyte, with a corm measuring 12-16 mm in diameter.
  • Flowers from August to September, extending through to early October at higher elevations.
  • Seed are ovate to round, measuring about 5-8 mm long by 4-7 mm wide, broadly and evenly winged.

Ecological interactions


  • Bees > Anthophoridae > Anthophora diversipes


  • Goldblatt P. and Manning J. 1998. Gladiolus in Southern Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson

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