It was while driving around the outskirts of town that I came across two plants with beautiful pink flowers growing amidst the grass on the verge.

These look like a Gladiolus and have the typical sword-shaped leaves of that species, but I have never seen such a lovely pink version before. The blooms are salmon-coloured with attractive streaks of red – could they have come from someone’s garden, I wondered, even though we were far away from the nearest houses.

It appears from my Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa by John Manning that they might be Gladiolus mortonius, commonly known as the Small Salmon Gladiolus that grows in open stony grassland in the Eastern Cape. I saw these flowers two years ago and, although I often drive along this particular stretch of road, have not seen them since. I will keep a careful look out for them as they might bloom after the recent rain we have enjoyed.


    • Me too. What also amazes me is how well some plants seem to thrive there rather than in one’s garden. Gazanias spring to mind: there are sometimes carpets of them alongside the roads.

      Liked by 1 person

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