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Gladiolus Flower of the Gladiators.
“You Pierce My Heart.”
Wild gladiolus was considered important for medicinal purposes; a custom which was passed on to the English who grew them primarily for their beauty.
The corms, used as a poultice, were good for drawing out thorns and splinters, or so it was written by John Gerard in “Herbal”. Dried to a powder, corms were mixed with goat’s milk to treat colic or added to breads.
The engineer who built the bridge over the Zambesi river at Victoria Falls, Sir F. Fox, developed miniature hybrids from the gladiolus primulinus, and sent them to Kew Gardens. Locally known as the maid in the mist, the species grew in the spray which emitted from Victoria Falls.
Gladiolus grew abundantly and wild in the Holy Land and the waste lands along the Mediterranean coast of Africa. They were thought to be the “lilies of the field” that Jesus referred to in the Sermon on the Mount.
Considered to be the flower of the Gladiators, the gladiolus has also been called sword lily, because of the shape of the leaves. In Latin, gladiolus means “sword”.