Gladiolus undulatus

Wild gladiolus

Also known as:

Waved-flowered gladiolus

Family: Iridaceae

Origin: South Africa

Close up of white gladiolus flowers.
Flowers have six petals which taper into long and narrow tips.
Photo credit: Holly Cox

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Erect perennial herb < 1.4 m tall. Corms are underground bulbs < 3 cm in diameter. Leaves are narrow, strap-like and mostly clustered near stem base, with red/purple sheaths. Flowers are white-cream, have tapering 'petals' with wavy margins and are borne in loose clusters on spikes in October – December.

What you need to know

Although wild gladiolus is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Riparian areas, wetlands, coastal areas, sand dunes, grassland, disturbed sites, pasture, wasteland, gardens, roadsides.


Does not set seed in New Zealand. Vegetative spread from cormils, dispersed by water. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and movement of contaminated soil, vehicles and machinery.

Impact on environment

Can displace native vegetation and prevent native seedling recruitment.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Underground bulbs and cormils.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Basic Growsafe certified: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water after flowering.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green and 4g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L and 20ml penetrant at full leaf stage.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A line of gladiolus plants alongside a house, leaning out of a metal fence.
Glasdiolus is an erect perennial herb that can grow up to 1.4 m tall.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
The root of the gladiolus.
Gladiolus re-grows each year from long-lived underground bulbs.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow