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Wild Gladiolus

Also known as:
Waved-Flowered Gladiolus
South Africa

General description

Erect perennial herb < 1.4 m tall. Corms are underground bulbs < 3 cm in diameter. Leaves are narrow, strap-like and mostly clustered near stem base, with red/purple sheaths. Flowers are white-cream, have tapering 'petals' with wavy margins and are borne in loose clusters on spikes in October – December.

What you need to know

Although wild gladiolus is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Riparian areas, wetlands, coastal areas, sand dunes, grassland, disturbed sites, pasture, wasteland, gardens, roadsides.

Does not set seed in New Zealand. Vegetative spread from cormils, dispersed by water. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and movement of contaminated soil, vehicles and machinery.

Can displace native vegetation and prevent native seedling recruitment.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Underground bulbs and cormils

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Basic Growsafe certified
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water after flowering

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green and 4g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L and 20ml penetrant at full leaf stage

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Crocosmia X crocosmiiflora

Montbretia has light green leaves, a prominent mid vein and pale sheath at base of leaf.

Aristea ecklonii

Aristea has several prominent parallel veins on leaves and blue flowers.

bulbil watsonia
Watsonia bulbillifera

Bulbil watsonia is a larger more robust plant. It's leaves are tough and upright. It has tall flower stalks which develop aerial corms.

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Wild gladiolus - Main species image