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Gladiolus carinatus (Blue Afrikaner)

Sandpypie [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 carinatus Gladiolus carinatus

Gladiolus carinatus flowering in sandveld fynbos on the coastal plain. Namaqualand, Northern Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

Gladiolus carinatus flowering in spring in sandveld along the Cape West Coast, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

Information is from Goldblatt and Manning (1998).

Distribution and habitat

Distribution is mainly coastal, from central Namaqualand (Northern Cape) southwards to Cape Town and from there eastwards to the Knysna vicinity. However, it also occurs in more mountainous areas inland from the West Coast. It grows mainly in well drained, sandy soils on coastal flats, in areas dominated by restio tussocks, often growing in the restio clump. It also grows on stony mountain slopes up to 1000 m elevation.

Life cycle

  • A geophyte, with corms measuring 12-18 mm in diameter.
  • Flowers from June to mid-September.
  • Seeds are oblong, measuring 6-8 mm long by 5-7 mm wide, evenly winged.

Ecological interactions


  • Bees. Forage for nectar.
    • Anthophoridae. A range of species are attracted to Gladiolus carinatus flowers.
    • Apis mellifera (Honeybee)
Gladiolus carinatus Gladiolus carinatus

A Crab spider (Thomisus stenningi), cryptically coloured, lying in ambush on a flower of Gladiolus carinatus flowering in winter on the Agulhas Plain, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

The crab spider succeeds in capturing a Banded blowfly (Chrysomya albiceps), which probably was trying to land on the flower as a perch. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]


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

Text by Hamish Robertson

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