The gladiola is native to southern Africa, the Holy Land and Asia Minor. They were imported to Europe during the 17th century.
The English used the flower's stem base as a poultice. Powdered corms, or dried roots were mixed in goat's milk to sooth the symptoms of colic. Don't try this at home. It does not work.
Mashed gladiola roots were used for removing splinters and thorn. The writer's wife does an excellent job of removing splinters with a sharp needle after she says that he should have worn gloves.
There are 260 species of gladiolas and 10,000 cultivars.
Many believe that an early gladiola was the "lily of the valley" that Jesus referred to.
These and other flowers do not look like the earliest native plants, for ours have been highly hybridized.
Gladiolas need to be staked so they do not fall over.
It is the first of July and the writer is happily staking his glads.