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The Cape Peninsula

Gladiolus cononius - Scarlet-flowered Antholyza

Gladiolus cunonius (syns. Anomalesia cunonia, Antholyza cunonia)
Strand Valsbaai - False Bay beach

Gladiolus cunonius (syns. Anomalesia cunonia, Antholyza cunonia) has bright red flowers and blooms in the spring and grows in sandy soils near the coast. The generic names antholyza and anomalesia have been superseded since Goldblatt et al. established this species as gladiolus, a genus of the iridaceae. It is found up north as far as Namibia. Three species are endemic to South Africa; the Gladiolus saccata can be found in Namaqualand. Common name Scarlet-flowered Antholyza.
The following is a quotation from Curtis Botanical Magazine vol. IX, 1795, page 66 (it opens at p. 1, search for 'cunonia' and both illustration and text will be displayed).

"Amidst that variety of tender bulbous plants which the Cape affords, there are none whose flowers can boast a richer scarlet, than the Antholyza here figured; in their form also, there is great singularity, and in their mode of growth much elegance; to us indeed it is matter of surprise that this plant should not be more generally cultivated, especially as its culture is attended with so little trouble: Mr. MILLER, who grew it in 1756, has minutely described it in his Dictionary; he informs us, that it is easily propagated by offsets, or railed from seeds; the latter, as the plant flowers in April and May, ripen about the middle of June, and should be sown about the middle of August; the plant with the pot in which it has grown, after it has ripened its seeds, should be set by in a shed or some dry place, and in the autumn the largest roots should be selected, and three of them planted in a pot of a moderate size, keeping them in an open frame till the approach of winter, when they are to be removed into the house with other greenhouse plants.
This species is found wild in Persia as well as at the Cape."

References:
Goldblatt, Peter and John Manning. 1998. Gladiolus in Southern Africa. Vlaeberg: Fernwood Press. Descriptions of each species including a distribution map, relationships with other species, and history and good line drawings and beautiful watercolor illustrations.
Pacific Bulb Society

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