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Gladiolus permeabilis

Kleinaandblom, Patrysuintjie, lituin [Afrikaans]; khahla-e-nyenyane [South Sotho]; sidvwana [Swazi]

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


William Burchell recorded that the corms of what is now known as Gladiolus permeabilis subspecies edulis were eaten by the local people of Litakun (what was then a village between Kuruman and Vryburg in what is now the Northwest Province). To quote:

"Of the wild roots which are more commonly eaten, a species of Gladiolus called litúin or litúing, and another of Babiana called lichús, which is the general name for bulbs of these genera, are met with very frequently in the Great Plains of Litakun: and besides these, there are various other species of Ensatæ, which the natives dig up for the same purpose. They have all, when slightly roasted, a sweet and agreeable taste, much like that of chestnuts." (Burchell 1953 reprint of the original 1822 edition, p. 415).

He then proceeds to describe the new species Gladiolus edulis (now a subspecies) and also Babiana hypogea.


  • Burchell, W.J. 1953 (reprint of the original 1822-4 edition). Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa. Volume 2. The Batchworth Press, London.


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