August’s bright, showy flowers capture the essence of sunny summer days and one that is particularly impressive, is the gladiolus. The birth flower for August, this tall spiky bloom is one of the most colourful, with flowers ranging from pink to light purple and white to orange. Unique in that its flowers grow from a tall spike fringed with sharp leaves, its nickname “sword lily” comes from its Latin name “gladius” meaning sword, and refers to the shape of its leaves. Legend has it that in Ancient Roman times, gladiators would fight in honour of the gladiolus flower. The victor would be showered in the flowers, thus making the gladiolus the official flower of the gladiators.
Said to symbolize strength of character, integrity, infatuation and persistence, the gladiolus also represents love at first sight, indicating that the heart has been ‘pierced with love’. Beyond this meaning, gladioli are the flowers associated with a fortieth wedding anniversary and the varying colours of gladioli each have a different meaning:
Red symbolizes love.
Pink symbolizes compassion.
White symbolizes innocence.
Yellow symbolizes joy.
Purple symbolizes charm and grace.
There are around 300 gladiolus species and the genus occurs in Asia, Mediterranean Europe, South Africa, and tropical Africa and they grow from round, symmetrical corms, which are similar to crocuses. In the cooler climates of Europe, gladioli can be pollinated by wasps. So, if you’ve ever wondered what a wasp’s purpose was, other than to torment you during your family BBQ, well, now you know!
Although not always the most requested flower when it comes to floral arrangements, we think gladioli are absolutely beautiful and we love using them in our designs. And if “gladdies” are good enough for Dame Edna Everage...
Looking for a gift for someone with an August birthday, or just want to treat yourself? From beautiful bouquets and vase arrangements, to bath and beauty products, we’ve got you covered. Come check out our flower selection and gift ideas on our website.