Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Painted Lady

This is a Painted Lady (Gladiolus carneus), a common lady indeed, growing from the Cederberg all the way round the south-western Cape to Plettenberg Bay. Snapped on a misty morning on Table Mountain, near the entrance to Cecilia Forest off Rhodes Drive, this one was displaying its frilly stigma, with protruding anthers dangling provocatively hoping to attract the attention of a passing bee or fly pollinator. Those pretty spade markings on the petals too are "nectar-guides" to draw a pollinator's attention to the nectar hidden within the flower.
The bulbous genus Gladiolus occurs over most of sub-Saharan Africa and in the Mediterranean parts of Europe and the Middle East. There are about 265 species altogether, and most of the species are crammed into the south-western Cape. It is from South Africa that all of the hybrid gladioli that you buy in florists today originate.


  1. So much more appealing than the hybrid horrors!

  2. I agree, but some of the horrors are beautiful in a way too.