Also known as the sword lily, the tall spiky gladiola used to be known as xiphium, from the Greek word xiphos, meaning sword.
The birth flower for August, the gladiola signifies remembrance. But, more curiously, it also expresses infatuation, telling the receiver that he or she pierces the heart. So…have some fun with the sexy gladiola. Run to Zocalo this August and you’ll receive two stems for the price of one. Yes, a five-stem bundle of infatuation for only $7.50. Aren’t you glad? From gladiators to feng shui to Monet, the gladiola has an amazing history.
A flower with some moxy, the gladiola represented the Roman gladiators. The stiffly erect, blade-like stalk resembles the short but powerful swords of Roman foot soldiers during medieval times. There is an old Roman tale about two buddies who were forced to fight each other. Reluctant and unrelenting, they stuck their swords into the ground and embraced. This action angered the crowd and they were executed. As their blood seeped into the soil, two gladiolus sprung from the ground. In Rome, gladioli are regarded as the flower of the gladiators.
Gladioli are also considered good in feng shui. Gladiolus,especially the red ones, are very popular during the first 15 days of Chinese New Year. The flowers open one by one from the bottom up to signify bu bu gao sheng (steady rise in career and self development). Mothers buy them for their children who are either studying or working and wives buy them for their husbands in hopes that their partner’s luck will improve.
If you’re looking for another impression, French artist Claude Monet’s red gladiolus are particularly striking in his 1876 painting The Garden, Gladioli.