Autumn crocus-Colchicum autumnale-pictures of flowers

August 20, 2014 – 12:55 am

Colchicum autumnale-Autumn crocus-macro Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, also known as Meadow Saffron, is a showy, purple, pink or white flower that looks a lot like an over-sized spring flowering crocus, but blooms in autumn.
Although related by their name, Spring and Autumn Crocuses belong to different plant families; Spring Flowering Crocus is a member of the Iris Family (Iridaceae) together with the Iris and Gladiolus while Autumn crocus belongs to the Lily family (Liliaceae) along with the Lilies, Tulips, and Hyacinths.
Colchicum is native to West Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and parts of the Mediterranean coast.

Autumn crocus has an unusual life cycle; its large colorful flowers arise from the earth without any accompanying foliage, the reason it is also called the "naked lady". The flowers appear in September - November and they offer a breathtaking view on field and forest ground for 2-3 weeks.
Than they die back.

Next spring, 3-8 grass-like leaves appear, producing food and storing it in the plant's corm, a modified underground bulb.
By early summer the foliage dries and the plant remains dormant within the soil. Usually in September (in our country), with the autumn rains, after summer's heat and drought Autumn crocus starts blooming.
Though its leaves, corm and seeds are deadly poisonous if eaten, Autumn crocus is at risk of extinction, from over-harvest, due to its valuable medicinal properties.
It contains an alkaline substance called colchicine which has a similar effect as arsenic and the poison has no antidote.
Despite its toxicity, colchicine is used today, as it may have been 4, 000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, to treat rheumatism, dropsy, and prostate enlargement. As with all drugs, healing or killing is just a matter of balance.
Autumn crocus is considered one of the best remedies for acute gout pain.
Leukemia has been successfully treated with autumn crocus as well.
Though Autumn crocus can be mistaken for wild garlic (Aliium ursinum), accidental poisoning with Colchicum autumnale is very rare.
It is wise to keep this beauty out of the garden, for those having small children. Autumn crocus field Autumn crocus in the forest Autumn crocus-Colchicum autumnale in the forest Autumn crocus bouquet


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