Wednesday, February 19, 2020

History Blooms at Monticello - Sword Flag

Sword Flag or Corn Flag (Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus)

This species of Gladiolus, native to the Mediterranean region, is delicate and small-flowered compared to our modern hybrids. Sword Flags also tend to be more winter hardy. John Parkinson’s Herbal, published in London in 1629, provides the first description, and it was growing in American gardens by 1800. 

Thomas Jefferson received 12 hardy Gladiolus bulbs from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon in 1812. G. communis ssp. byzantinus will slowly naturalize in the garden.

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