Gladiolus angustus (Marsh painted lady)
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> Family: Iridaceae > Genus:
Gladiolus angustus flowering in late spring
at Rondevlei on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. [photo
Unless otherwise indicated, information is from
Goldblatt and Manning (1998 pp. 136-137).
There are two main distinctive characters of this species:
- the very long perianth tube, usually measuring about 70-100 mm long, but
sometimes only about 50 mm long.
- the cream to ivory coloured flowers with the lower tepals much shorter
than the upper ones and with dark red, diamond- or spade-shaped markings.
Distribution and habitat
Endemic to the Western Cape, South Africa, where the
distribution includes the Cape Peninsula, up the West Coast as far north as
about Vredenburg and from there inland to Piketberg and the Cedarberg. It has
also been recorded from near Elim (to the west of Agulhas). The preferred
habitat is streams and marshes on sandstone soils (Manning et al. 2002).
- A geophyte, with a corm measuring 14-20 mm in diameter.
- Flowers from October to November.
- Seeds are ovate, measuring about 8-9 mm long by 5-6 mm wide, and are
broadly and evenly winged.
- Diptera (flies) > Nemestrinidae > Moegistorhynchus longirostris.
This fly has a phenomenally long proboscis (up to 80 mm!) that it uses to
access the nectar at the base of the long tube of Gladiolus angustus
(see photo below). For more detailed information, see Goldblatt and Manning
The long-proboscid fly (Moegistorhynchus
longirostris) pollinating a flower of Gladiolus angustus in
late spring in the Rondeberg Reserve on the Cape Peninsula, South
Meaning of name
angustus is Latin for narrow, presumably referring
to the long, slender tube of the flower.