Two beautiful Overberg Gladiolius species are flowering at the moment in the Overberg.
Gladiolus meridionalis has magnificent pink flowers that have long perianth tubes with wide cylindrical upper parts and large quantities of nectar, making them ideal for pollination by sunbirds. Somewhat unusual for sunbird pollination, the nectar has a relatively high sugar concentration and is sucrose dominant. The plants have three leaves, the leaf blades are slightly fleshy and without thickened margins or a visible midrib. They grow in stony sandstone soils in low fynbos on mountain slopes and flats from Gansbaai to Elim with an outlying population near Port Elizabeth.
The second Gladiolus flowering now in mid-April is Gladiolus vaginatus. This species has been categorised as vulnerable in the latest Red Data list of South African plants. It has two leathery leaves, without visible veins and has fragrant blue to grey flowers, mostly in a 2-6 flowered spike, with dark streaks on the lower tepals. It grows on limestone and clay-loam (renosterveld) from the Cape Peninsula to Knysna.