Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Gladiolus aureus

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 aureus

Gladiolus aureus flowering in spring. South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]



Information is from Goldblatt and Manning (1998 pp. 170-171).


Can be identified on the basis of the following combination of characters:

  • the yellow flowers with tepals of similar size.
  • the perianth tube, which is narrow basally and then expands abruptly 10-15 mm from the base.

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to the Cape Peninsula, Western Cape, South Africa where it is restricted to mountain slopes near Kommetjie and Simonstown. Plants grow in seeps, where the peaty sand remains wet well into Spring.

Life cycle

  • A geophyte with a corm measuring 12-18 mm in diameter.
  • Flowers from late August to September.
  • The oval seeds are about 9 mm long by 7 mm wide and have broad, evenly developed wings.

Ecological relationships


  • Bees > Apidae > Apis mellifera (Honeybee). The flower does not have nectar and so the bees are visiting it for pollen.


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

Text by Hamish Robertson

Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search