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common name for members of the genus Iris of the Iridaceae, a family of perennial herbs that includes the crocuses, freesias, and gladioli. The family is characterized by thickened stem organs (bulbs, corms, and rhizomes) and by linear or sword-shaped
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a genus of beautifully flowering, perennial corm plants of the family Iridaceae. The stem is erect and unbranched, more rarely branched, and 25-220 cm tall. The leaves are linear, sword-shaped, and green or blue green. The inflorescence is a unilateral or bilateral spike, and the flower is funnel-shaped. The perianth has six unequal lobes and is of various colors (white, yellow, orange, fire red, lilac, or violet blue). The corm consists of the greatly enlarged lower portion of the stem, covered with four to seven lamellae, in the axils of which the buds are found. In the process of stem and leaf growth the corm is depleted and replaced by one to four new large and 20-300 small corms (cormels).
Approximately 200 species of Gladiolus are known, growing in southern and northern Africa, Europe, and Asia. In the USSR there are nine species. Varieties of G. hybridus are widespread in ornamental floriculture. They are outstanding for the duration of blossoming, large inflorescences (up to 1 m) and flowers (up to 14 cm in diameter), and variety of colors. Gladioli are used in flower design, for distillation, and as cut flowers, which keep for a long time in water.
Gladioli are propagated from large and small corms that are set in open ground in the spring (in the central region of the USSR, in the second or third week of April). The best soils are clayey loams or sandy loams with a deep topsoil bed (25-30 cm). During autumn soil preparation, 80-100 tons per hectare (ha) of manure or peat-manure compost, 250-300 kg/ha of phosphorus, and 120-150 kg/ha of potassium mineral fertilizers are introduced. Nitrogen fertilizers (250-300 kg/ha) are used in the spring at planting and for feedings. The corms are set at a depth of 8-10 cm, the cormels at 3-4 cm. The plants need watering, especially during the period of intensive growth of the flower stem and formation of cormels. Gladioli are given two to three feedings of mineral fertilizers during the summer. When cutting flowers, three to four leaves are left on the stem for better corm development. In the fall, before the onset of frosts, the corms are dug out and dried, then the cormel is divided off. It is kept in a place with a temperature of 4°-5° C and air humidity no higher than 70 percent.
REFERENCESNeporozhnyi, G. D. Gladiolus. Moscow, 1950.
Vakulenko, V. Gladiolusy. Moscow, 1952.
V. V. VAKULENKO