Botany Photo of the Day
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January 18, 2017: Botany Photo of the Day is being actively worked on. Returning soon!

Gladiolus flanaganii

Gladiolus flanaganii

The common name for Gladiolus flanaganii, suicide lily, refers to the death-defying stunts photographers and observers need to perform to see this plant in the wild. Growing on cliff faces in the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa, finding a plant is an adventure not for the timid. Fortunately, this treasure is becoming easier to find in cultivation.

South Africa is the centre of diversity for the genus Gladiolus, with over half of the roughly two hundred and sixty known species growing natively only in that country (i.e., endemic to South Africa). Astoundingly, the interbreeding of only eight of those species have produced the over thirty thousand cultivars of gladiolus known to currently or previously exist (Gladiolus flanaganii is not one of those eight species).

The flowers of Gladiolus flanaganii last little more than a day, then quickly decay. As can be seen from this photograph, the progression from unfurling to senescence occurs first in the bottom-most flowers.

Photography resource link: Digital Cameras – A Beginner's Guide by Bob Atkins via This should be required reading before you purchase a digital camera, including such tips as why you shouldn't be impressed by high “digital zoom” magnifications.


happy new year

what is the pollination of the gladiolus?

Tamika, I'm afraid I don't know. Might be a question to ask on the garden's discussion forums.

Given the size and shape of the flowers, I'd speculate some sort of bee.

Super image of gladioli


Interesting species, as are many gladioli.

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