Gladiolus debilis, the little painted lady, has white or pink flowers with arrow-shaped and other red markings on the lower three tepals. Feint pink lines may also occur on the upper or all tepals. The plant is a geophyte sometimes reaching 50 cm in height. It grows on fynbos sandstone slopes in the south-western parts of the Western Cape. One of the strap-like leaves may grow taller than the flower-head. Up to three flowers may be borne per plant. The plant is pollinated by long-tongued flies. It blooms in spring, more abundantly during the first few seasons after a veld fire (Bean and Johns, 2005; Manning, 2007; www.pacificbulbsociety.org).