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Submitted by on Jul 9, 2022

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Gladiolus is a genus of iris-like perennial cormous flowering plants (Iridaceae).

It is occasionally referred to as the’sword lily,’ although it is more often known by its generic name (plural gladioli).

Asia, Mediterranean Europe, South Africa, and tropical Africa are all home to the genus. The Cape Floristic Region is the epicenter of variety. Gladiolus currently includes the previously different genera Acidanthera, Anomalesia, Homoglossum, and Oenostachys.

Gladioli are made up of numerous layers of brownish, fibrous tunics that surround spherical, symmetrical corms (similar to crocuses).

Their stems are usually unbranched, and they produce 1 to 9 slender, sword-shaped, longitudinally grooved leaves that are wrapped in a sheath. The lowest leaf, called a cataphyll, is truncated. The cross section of the leaf blades might be planar or cruciform.

Blooms of unaltered wild species range in size from extremely tiny to maybe 40 mm in diameter, with inflorescences holding one to numerous flowers. Hundreds of years of hybridisation and selection have resulted in the beautiful gigantic flower spikes that are sold today.

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The flower spikes are enormous and one-sided, with secund, bisexual blooms held in place by two leathery, green bracts on each side. Tepals are the sepals and petals that are nearly similar in appearance. They form a tube-shaped structure when they are joined at the base. The biggest tepal is the dorsal tepal, which arches over the three stamens. The tepals on the outside are narrower. The stamens are linked to the base of the perianth, which is funnel-shaped. Three filiform, spoon-shaped branches shoot out from the apex of the style.

The ovary is three-locular, with rectangular or globose capsules bearing many winged brown seeds that dehisce lengthwise.

These flowers come in a range of colors, from pink to reddish or light purple with white, contrasting patterns, or white to cream, orange, or red.

Long-tongued anthophorini bees pollinate the South African species, but alterations in the pollination system have allowed pollination by sunbirds, noctuid and Hawk-moths, long-tongued flies, and a variety of other pollinators. Many of the hybrid large flowering gladiolus varieties can be pollinated by little well-known wasps in Europe’s temperate zones. Because of the huge blooms of the plants and the small size of the wasps, they aren’t particularly excellent pollinators. The well-known European Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum, which pollinates many popular garden flowers such as Petunia, Zinnia, Dianthus, and others, is another insect in this zone that may try some of the gladioli nectar.

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