G.M. Littlejohn, I.D. van der Walt
In Southern Africa 113 named Gladiolus species are found. Of these only a small number have been used in the development of the cultivated Gladiolus. Cultivated Gladiolus suffers from attack by a large number of pests and diseases. The leaf rust disease, Uromyces transversalis, originated in Southern Africa, and has spread to other parts of the world. The indigenous species show varied levels of resistance to leaf rust, and can be exploited in the breeding program. The cultivated Gladiolus was largely developed from summer flowering species, and is not scented. Many of the indigenous species are sweetly scented, and crosses which give scented progeny with classical Gladiolus shape have been developed. Many colour and shape variants exist in the indigenous species, which will also allow the development of Gladiolus suitable for pot plants. The breeding methodology is determined largely by the ploidy differences between species and the cultivated Gladiolus. The lack of knowledge of cross-compatibility, zygote and seed viability, and genome affinity hinders steady progress. Thus the future depends on the evaluation of the wild species and determination of any barriers to hybridization and subsequent genetic introgression.
Littlejohn, G.M. and van der Walt, I.D. (1992). GLADIOLUS BREEDING USING INDIGENOUS WILD SPECIES. Acta Hortic. 325, 543-548
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.325.75
hybridization, fragrance, Uromyces transversalis, thrips

Acta Horticulturae