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Gladiolus carmineus

Family: Iridaceae

Common names

  • Cliff gladiolus
  • Hermanus gladiolus


Gladiolus is a large genus of petaloid monocots and comprises more than 250 species. The erect, unbranched flowering stem is flexed outward below the spike. Flowers are funnel-shaped and deep red-pink, occasionally pale in colour. The lower three tepals are each marked with a characteristic median white band. The spike bears 2–3 (sometimes up to 6) unscented flowers, with a style that arches over shorter stamens bearing yellow anthers.


This Gladiolus species is a narrow endemic of the southern African winter rainfall region and is restricted to coastal areas of the southwestern Western Cape. It occurs in the Pringle Bay area in the west and its distribution extends eastwards up along the coast to Cape Infanta.

Cultural value

Many African herbalists consider the Gladiolus to be a magical medicinal plant as it is used for the treatment of dysentery, constipation and diarrhoea. Ethno-botanical information has also noted that the Gladiolus is widely used throughout sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the best natural human system regulators known to man.
It is often prescribed as a booster for patients with low energy levels and for hypochondriacs. An added benefit is regular bowel movements.