1. Family: Iridaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Gladiolus Tourn. ex L.
      1. Gladiolus dzavakheticus Eristavi

        The generic name Gladiolus means 'little sword' in Latin, and the Georgian common name for G. dzavakheticus translates into English as 'sword'. When collecting seeds from this species in 2009, the Millennium Seed Bank team at the Tbilisi Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany caused a stir when the Georgians thought they were looking for real swords, as buried artefacts, and were keen to assist in making archaeological discoveries!

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    The eye-catching sword lily adds beauty to sub-alpine landscapes and lakesides, especially in foggy weather, when only its pink flowers are visible.

    The generic name Gladiolus means 'little sword' in Latin, and the Georgian common name for G. dzavakheticus translates into English as 'sword'. When collecting seeds from this species in 2009, the Millennium Seed Bank team at the Tbilisi Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany caused a stir when the Georgians thought they were looking for real swords, as buried artefacts, and were keen to assist in making archaeological discoveries!

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Gladiolus dzavakheticus is restricted to the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and Armenia, where it is found in subalpine hay meadows.

    Description

    Overview:  The sword lily is a showy, eye-catching plant, which grows to a height of 60 cm. Its corms (fleshy underground stem bases) are small and round (8-10 mm x 7-8 mm).

    Leaves: The lower leaves are shorter than the upper ones, and the longest leaf can reach 50 cm in length, and is usually 2-3 mm wide.

    Flowers:  The inflorescence bears 4-6 pink flowers during July-August.  Gladiolus dzavakheticus  can be distinguished from other species in the genus by its loose, open inflorescences.

    Fruits:  Fruits are produced in October. Reproduction is primarily by seed. 

    Threats and conservation

    Gladiolus dzavakheticus is known from only a few locations in Georgia and Armenia. It grows in subalpine meadows, which are used intensively as hay meadows, and the resulting mowing threatens the populations and reduces the chance of reproduction by seed.

    Another threat to the wild populations is the picking for sale of the showy flowers by local residents. The uprooting of plants for their edible corms and picking for cut flowers has greatly reduced their numbers. 

    Uses

    The corms are collected by local residents in Georgia and Armenia, as they are edible when boiled or roasted.

    Gladiolus dzavakheticus is also used for cut-flowers, and grown as an ornamental.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: One

    Seed storage behaviour: Likely to be orthodox (the seeds of this plant survive drying without significant reduction in their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB)

    Distribution
    Armenia, Georgia
    Ecology
    Subalpine meadows.
    Conservation
    On the Red List of the Caucasus.
    Hazards

    None known.

    [KSP]
    Use
    Food (corms edible when boiled or roasted), ornamental.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Transcaucasus

    Common Names

    English
    Sword lily

    Gladiolus dzavakheticus Eristavi appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in Zametki Sist. Geogr. Rast. 34: 38 (1977)

    Accepted by

    • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2006). Conspectus Florae Caucasi 2: 1-466. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS G: 1-40325.

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles
    • Shulkina, T. (2005). Ornamental Plants from Russia and Adjacent States of the Former Soviet Union. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Missouri.
    • Eristavi, M. (1977). New species of genus Gladiolus L. from Georgia. Notes on Plant Systematics and Geography. Institute of Botany of Georgian Academy of Sciences, 34:38-40.
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Mikheev, A. (2006). Synopsis generis Gladiolus L. (Iridaceae) specierum in flora caucasi Novosti Sistematiki Vysshikh Rastenii 38: 120-125.

    Sources

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0