• Maria CantorEmail author
  • Janakiram Tolety


Gladiolus, a perennial geophyte, belongs to the family Iridaceae. Gladiolus species were recognized over 2,000 years ago in the field of Asian Minor. The European species were cultivated at least 500 years ago and first reported to be found in New Forest, UK in 1855, was evolved within short time to occupy top ranks of international flower trade. About 255 species of the genus were reported, out of which more than 114 are native to South Africa. The origin, distribution, and taxonomy of this genus are detailed in this chapter. Polyploidy and significant variation were reported for the chromosome number in Gladiolus but in many species base number was x = 15. Extent of genetic erosion, endangered species (like Gladiolus alatus var. algoensis), and modes of conservation including cryopreservation have been discussed. A detailed account of genetic improvement right from natural hybridization among the species G. communis, G. careneus (G. bladus), and G. cardinalis before 1880 to advanced techniques using molecular markers is given. Mention about change in breeding objectives over a period of time, utilization of wild species for crop improvement, advances in genetic transformation through non-conventional methods is also made. The contribution of different species in the development of modern-day cultivars and the process of evolution are also discussed. Breeding for fragrance, a trait lost in the course of evolution and most desired today is detailed. Economic importance of the genus and further scope for domestication and commercialization are mentioned.


Wild Species Cucumber Mosaic Virus Modern Cultivar Floral Scent Cape Floristic Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful for the counsels and information of and from Prof. Peter Goldblatt and Dr. Kathy Kamo.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of FloricultureUniversity of Agricultural Sciences Cluj-NapocaCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Division of Floriculture and LandscapingIndian Agricultural Research InstituteNew DelhiIndia

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