Whether as a dramatic backdrop for your garden, or a striking cutting flower for bouquets, the gladiolus is impressive. The tall spike of blooms range from two to five feet tall, with grass-like, pointed leaves that resemble swords. In fact, the gladiolus, or sword lily, derives its name from the Latin gladius, which means “little sword”. The genus gladiolus includes 260 known species, and the flowers bloom in a wide range of colors, from reds and pinks to oranges and yellows. The petals are ruffled or frilly, and often exhibit markings of contrasting colors.
The gladiolus flower represents honor and remembrance, and therefore is often used as a flower in tribute displays. However, due to its association with Roman gladiators, there are other strong meanings conveyed by gladiolus – including strength of character, faithfulness, sincerity and integrity. As the gladiolus is also the birth flower of August, it makes a wonderful floral arrangement for friends with August birthdays whose character you admire. A third symbolism for the gladiolus is infatuation or love at first sight. This meaning comes from the Victorian Era, when romantics thought the sword-like flower could pierce the heart of your intended.
Historically speaking, the gladiolus is widely believed to be the “lily of the valley” referenced in the Bible. Most gladioli originated in Africa and Asia and were brought to Europe until between 1739 and 1745. By 1840 and 1850, hundreds of varieties of gladiolus had been bred. Gladioli are often considered “old-fashioned flowers”, as early American women cultivated the blooms in their gardens, commonly grown along pastoral fences that could support their tall stalks. Modern gladiolus flowers are colloquially referred to as gladioli, or “glads.”
The gladiolus is the birth flower of August, as well as the traditional bloom of 40th wedding anniversaries. Whether for one of these occasions, or simply to make a striking statement, there are a wide range of reasons to send this flower to those you love. Whatever meaningful sentiment you wish to convey, Ah Sam Florist of San Mateo is here to help you create the perfect floral arrangement for every situation and person in your life