by Stephen Mifsud
   21 Sep 2021      ()
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Gladiolus italicus   (Field Gladiolus)

Gladiolus italicus   (IRIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands prior year 2000.

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Profile Date Mar-2004 (last update: 2-Jan-2020)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2-Jan-2020) Gladiolus italicus retrieved from on 21-Sep-2021

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Gladiolus italicus Miller
Published in Miller, Gard. Dict. ed. 8, no. 2 (1768)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Gladiolus segetum Ker-Gawler
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Iridaceae Juss. (The Iris Family)
23 species from the Iridaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Field Gladiolus, Italian Gladiolus, Cornfield Gladiolus

Maltese name(s) :

Ħabb il-qamħ tar-raba

Status for Malta :

Archeophyte. Non-native species, but introduced in Malta before 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) but usually been on the Islands more than 1000 years.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected at present

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – April

Colour of Flowers:


Name Derivation :

Gladiolus: a little sword, referring to the sword-shaped leaves of plants in this genus. (Latin origin )
italicus: originating from Italy or have some relationship to Italy (e.g. described first from Italy). (Latin origin )

Remarks :

In several floristic work, this species was neglected and only Gladiolus italicus has been reported. A study on the Gladiolus species occurring in the Maltese Islands by Hamilton and Mifsud revealed that most of the populations of Gladiolus in Malta were instead G. communis s.l. (including Gladiolus dubius Parl. and possibly G. byzantinus Miller).

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated land.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Cultivated fields (esp. wheat, corn etc.), fallow fields
Botanical Description: Plant 50-100 cm. Basal sheaths usually pale to dark red, often spotted white or pale green. Leaves 3-5, the lowest 18-40 cm x 16 mm, the other basal leaves 35-65 cm, the cauline 5-10 mm wide, irregularly veined. Inflorescence 6- to 16-flowered, lax, usually weakly distichous. Bract always exceeding bracteole; lower bracts frequently resembling and grading into cauline leaves. Perianth bright purplish-red to light pink. Lateral perianth-segments oblong. Anthers longer than filaments, or aborted. Capsule torulose when mature. Seeds globose-pyriform, not winged.
Chromosome number: 2n=120, 171+2
Distributional range: S. Europe, extending northwards to W.C. France.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, †He Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Az Bl Bu Ca Co Cr Cy Eg Ga Gr †He Hs IJ It Ju Li LS Lu Ma Rf(CS) Rm Sa Si Sn Tcs Tn Tu(A) Uk(K) [Md]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online


Vienna Virt. Hb.






Preliminary observations from long-term studies of Gladiolus L. (Iridaceae) for the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud & Anthony Hamilton  (2013)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (38 images)
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-0.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-1.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-2.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-3.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-4.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-5.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-6.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-7.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-8.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-9.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-10.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-11.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-12.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-13.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-14.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-15.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-16.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-17.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-18.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-19.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-20.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-21.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-22.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-23.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-24.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-25.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-26.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-27.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-28.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-29.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-30.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-31.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-32.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-33.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-34.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-35.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-36.
   Gladiolus italicus   -   Image Code: GLDIT-37.

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