The long, lovely gladiolus is the August birth flower and symbolizes strength, integrity and infatuation. A member of the iris family, “glads” are also called sword lilies because of their sharply pointed leaves and tall stalks of flowers with pointed tips. The Latin name for Gladiolus is gladius, a clear reference to the sword-swinging gladiators of ancient Rome.
There are 255 species of gladiolas and the plants range in size from two to five feet tall with elegant trumpet-shaped blossoms that grow in a double row along the stem. You can find hybrid varieties with ruffled, wavy or frilled petals and the flowers can be found in almost every color.
If you’re looking for birth flowers of other months, you’re in luck! We have a list of every birth flower for you, in case you want to order a birthday bouquet for someone! A personalized gift like this will surely be remembered.
Gladiolus Birth Flower Origin
The gladiolus is native to tropical Africa and areas around the Mediterranean and Middle East. It is believed that gladiolus plants were first brought to Europe in the early 18th century. Around the 1820s, gardeners began to seriously cultivate gladiolas and create hybrid varieties that became very popular in gardens and as cut flowers.
Around 1837, new green, brown and purple shades of gladiolus flowers were developed in Belgium. In 1870, the French introduced a newly discovered species with deep purple streaks. By the 1880s, German and other European plant breeders had developed over 2000 named varieties of gladiolas, which first appeared in American nurseries around 1891 and became wildly popular.
August Birth Flower Symbolism + Meaning
In floral history, gladiolus flowers have several different meanings. Because of their association with gladiators, they traditionally symbolize strength, sincerity and moral integrity. Gladiolus flowers also represent remembrance. Though their sword-shaped leaves hark back to ancient swords and battles, Victorian romantics determined that gladiolus flowers were capable of piercing someone’s heart with their beauty, adding infatuation to the list of traditional floral meanings.
The flower is also a symbol for healing. The Mediterranean and British used gladiolus flowers to treat physical illness. In England, the corms of gladiolus plants were used as bandages for drawing out splinters and thorns. In powdered form and mixed with goat milk, the corms were also found to soothe symptoms of colic in babies. Some species and parts of the flower are poisonous though and should not be within reach of children or animals as they can cause allergic reactions such as skin irritation. If you want to be safe, you might be better off just enjoying the gladiolus as a decorative flower.
August Birth Flower Meaning by Color
Besides generally symbolizing strength, integrity, remembrance and infatuation, the gladiolus meaning varies by color. The flower comes in virtually every color you can think of (thanks to the intensive breeding of the Germans and other Europeans in the 1800s) so to keep it simple, we’ve compiled a list of meanings for the most common ones.
Red Gladiolus Meaning
Like other red flowers, the red gladiolus stands for romance, passion and love. If you want to switch things up, give your partner red gladiolas for Valentine’s Day or your anniversary. The combination of the passionate red and the infatuation the gladiolus stands for is a perfect way of expressing how much you adore someone.
Pink Gladiolus Meaning
Much like red blooms, pink flowers are associated with romance and love though a little less passionate and more gentle in their meaning. You can give a pink gladiolus to someone you love but also just show a friend that you care deeply about them.
Yellow Gladiolus Meaning
You probably know that yellow is the color of friendship (hopefully you’ve never received a bunch of yellow flowers from a crush – friend zone alert!). The color also stands for joy and positive energy and is a great choice for a friend who needs a pick-me-up.
Purple Gladiolus Meaning
The color purple stands for royalty, fortune and beauty which makes the purple gladiolus a great gift for anyone. Whether it be a colleague, a friend or a family member, this shade is a perfect fit for anyone who likes unique gifts.
White Gladiolus Meaning
White gladiolas are a commonly used flower in wedding bouquets or arrangements as they connote purity and innocence. They also mean profound respect and can be given to someone you look up to or hold dear to your heart.
Gladiolus Birth Flower + Personality Traits
You’ve learned that the gladiolus has quite a few different meanings but you’re probably still wondering what it says about you. The following personality traits are associated with the August birth flower:
- Uniqueness — Just like the gladiolus you are a unique flower. People may not quite know how to describe you sometimes. When in doubt, take it as a compliment.
- Integrity — You know who you are and where you stand. Your morale is on point, people who know you value your honesty and faithfulness.
- Strength — You’re strong and driven which makes you a born leader. You don’t shy away from responsibility and are motivated by the will to succeed.
- Intellect — Intelligent babies are born in August! You’re not just smart but also charming and focused. Who wouldn’t want to be your friend?
If you liked reading about the August birth flower, you might enjoy finding out which birthstones are linked to the last month of the summer and what they represent as well.
Did you know that some months have multiple birthstones assigned to them? The idea of birthstones can be traced back hundreds of years, they were even mentioned in the Bible. It wasn’t until the National Association of Jewelers released a list in 1912, that each month was assigned a specific birthstone, as we know them today. Since then, some months have been assigned additional gemstones, which many believe was done so people of lower-income could afford buying their birthstones as jewelry. If you were born in August, you are one of the lucky people, who can choose between three stones: the Peridot, the Sardonyx and the Spinel.
However, the most commonly referred to gemstone for August babies is the Peridot. The gemstone’s color varies from light yellowish greens to almost brown and gets its color from the iron in the volcanic grounds where it is most often found. The Peridot is associated with fortune and prosperity but also said to protect their owner from evil.
One of the alternative August birthstones, the Sardonyx will shield your house from evil when placed in all four corners of your property (according to ancient legends anyway) but also stands for courage and happiness. The third birthstone for August babies, the Spinel is believed to have a soothing influence and help with reconciling differences. Just like the other two gemstones, it is also said to keep away harm from their owner.
Regardless of the gemstone you choose (or can afford), your safety and protection from evil are the common quality of the August birthstones.
Other August Flowers + Symbols
You don’t just get three birthstones as an August-born, you also have a second flower assigned to your birth month: the poppy! In Western Culture, the flower is a symbol of remembrance. The ancient Greek and Romans would offer poppy flowers to the recently deceased for them to rest in peace. You can also see them around Memorial Day in the US for the same reason. Just like any flower that comes in different colors, the meanings of poppies vary by shade: Red poppies symbolize remembrance but also happiness, a yellow poppy is a sign of prosperity, a purple one of enchantment and white poppy flowers stand for consolation. A few other flowers that are popular during August are sunflowers, dahlias and lilies as they are all seasonal.
The month of August was named after the first Emperor of Rome, Augustus Caesar. The zodiac signs of the month are Leo (until August 21st) and Virgo. Their elements are fire and earth which is reflected in the August birthstone Peridot that can be found in volcanic grounds. While Leos are known to be creative, passionate and humorous they can also show arrogant tendencies and be a little self-centered. Virgos, on the other hand, are loyal, hardworking and kind characters who tend to be overly critical with themselves and others.
National holidays celebrated in August are Family and Friendship Day on the first Sunday of the month (which is also National Sisters Day) and Senior Citizen Day on the 21st. These are all good reasons to send someone a beautiful bouquet and thank them for being in your life!
Now that you know all about the birth flowers, gemstones and zodiac signs of August, keep them in mind when celebrating someone whose birthday falls in that month. They will appreciate the extra thought you put into gifting them flowers that fit their personality.
One last gladiolus fact: The flower is also given on the 40th anniversary. If you have that coming up (congratulations!), make sure to give your spouse a big bouquet in celebration of your special day!