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Gladiolus atropurpureus

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 atropurpureus Gladiolus atropurpureus  
Gladiolus atropurpureus

Gladiolus atropurpureus, Borrowdale Common, Harare, Zimbabwe. [photos Bart Wursten , Flora of Zimbabwe]


Information from Goldblatt (1993).


  • Flowers range in colour from deep maroon-purple to white with dark-purple nectar guides.
  • Often confused with Gladiolus unguiculatus but can be distinguished by not have a gap (window) between the uppermost tepal and the upper lateral tepals, when viewed in profile (see lower image above).

Distribution and habitat

A tropical African species with a distribution including Angola, Burundi, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Occurs in deciduous woodland and low montane grassland, sometimes on rocky outcrops.

Life cycle

  • A geophyte with corms measuring 10-30 mm in diameter (usually 15-20 mm).
  • Flowers from November to December.
  • Fruits late December and January.
  • Dormant from February to April.



Text by Hamish Robertson

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