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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 comptonii flowering in winter in
arid fynbos on the Heerenloggement mountain, Western Cape, South Africa. [photos
Information mainly from Goldblatt and Manning (1998).
Distribution and habitat
Endemic to the Western Cape, South Africa, where it is
known from only one locality, the Heerenlogement Mountain at the northwestern
end of the Olifants River Mountains. Plants grow in mountain fynbos vegetation
on the upper slopes from 600-700 m elevation.
There is a famous overhang at the Heerenlogement Mountains
where travellers over about 300 years have recorded their names on the rock
surface, Francois Le Vaillant, the french naturalist, being among them (see
Above: the Heerenlogement mountain, with the
famous overhang in the middle of the photograph. Below: Francois Le
Vaillant's name on the rock surface of the overhang. [photos H.
- A geophyte, with corms measuring 15-20 mm in diameter.
- Flowers in July, possible also late June.
- Seeds ovoid, measuring 7-8 mm long by 4-5 mm wide, broadly and evenly
Probably pollinated by long-tongued bees but there is no
evidence to support this.
Derivation of name
comptonii refers to R.H. Compton, who founded the
herbarium at Kirstenbosch and made extensive collections of the southern African
- Goldblatt P. and Manning J. 1998. Gladiolus in Southern Africa.
Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, Cape Town.