ORNAMENTAL PLANTS OF HORTICULTURE VALUE
Selection of perennials
Corn flag, gladiolus, sword lily
About 180-300 species, depending on classification, mostly
in Africa. 10 species are mentioned in the Checklist of the
flora of the FSU. Some of them are known in horticulture and
are of wide distribution. Thus G. italicus Mill.
occurs in the Crimea, the Caucasus, the southern regions of
Central Asia (Pamiro Alay, Badkhiz, Kopet-Dag) and also in the
Mediterranean, Asia Minor and Iran. This species is known in
cultivation under the name G. segetum Ker-Gawl. and also
as G. turkmenorum Czerniak. Two species are of European
distribution: G. imbricatus L. and G. palustris
Gaudin; both grow in the European part of the FSU, in its western
regions. Most species occur in the Caucasus (7), and some are
endemics (e.g. G. caucasicus Herb., G. dzhavakheticus
Eristavi). All species are of horticultural interest, being very
attractive and of importance for hybridization.
G. atroviolaceus Boiss.
Caucasus (southern Transcaucasus), Central Asia (Kopet-Dag),
Middle East, Asia Minor and northern Iran. Dry sunny steppe
slopes, rocky and gravelly soil up to 2,000 m.
Plant 45-75 cm. Spike with 2-8 flowers. Leaves 3, 4-8 cm wide,
as long as, or even longer than, the spike. Flowers dark lilac,
3.5-4.0 cm long. Lateral segments of perianth longer than the
others. Anthers as long as filaments. V - March to September in
the wild. Fl - end of May. Fr - July. Pr - by seed (sown
immediately) and by cormlets. Requires a sunny position; tolerant
of dry soil. Z 6 (5). New.
G. caucasicus Herb.
Caucasus (eastern regions Kartli, Trialeti). On grassy slopes
and among shrubs, in sunny places on shallow soil.
Spike one-sided 70-100 cm high, 5-8 flowered. Leaves 2-3, 2 cm
wide, shorter than the spike. Flowers campanulate, violet-lilac.
Perianth segments gradually narrowed towards the base, the three
lower segments longer than the upper ones. Anthers obovate, narrowed
to the base. V - April to October. Fl - May-June. Fr - July. Z 6
The following are also of horticultural interest:
G. dzhavakheticus Eristavi. Caucasus (Georgia,
Dzavakhetia). Subalpine meadows. Distinguished from the other
species by wide, campanulate erect, violet flowers. All perianth
segments equal, lower ones unspotted. Anthers wide. V -mid spring
to late autumn. Fl - July-August. Fr. - October. Z 6 (5). New.
G. kotschyanus Boiss. Transcaucasus, Anatolia,
Iraq and western Iran. Boggy, subalpine meadows. Spike 30-65 cm.
Leaves 2, broadly linear, 7-9 mm wide, with 5-6 ribs. Inflorescence
short, with 3-4 lilac-violet flowers. V -mid spring to late autumn.
Fl - July-August. Fr. - October. Z 6 (5). New.
G. tenuis Bieb. The Greater Caucasus. Subalpine
zone, boggy meadows. Spike up to 60 cm, leaves much shorter.
Flowers 3.0-3.5 cm long, purple-violet. Lower perianth segment
light blue, sometimes white with dark violet veins. P - by cormlets
that form regularly around the old corm. V -mid spring to late autumn.
Fl - July. Fr - September. Z 6 (5). New.
G. halophilus Boiss. et Heldr. The Caucasus (Megri,
rare), central Anatolia, northeastern Iraq and western Iran. On slopes
with saline soil. Leaves 3 in number 3-4 cm wide. Flowers small,
2.5-3.0 cm long, light pink. V - April to September. Fl - June. Fr -
August. Z 6 (5). New.