Autumn Crocus, Colchicum spp.

September 24, 2012 – 05:26 am

Brighten the fall landscape with fall-blooming bulbs – yes, there are some fall-bloomers that thrive in Wisconsin. Autumn crocus is probably the best of these, with large, chalice-shaped flowers in pink or white. The foliage appears in spring and dies back in early summer, leaving the flowers to pop up on their own in the fall. To learn more about this bulb (that isn’t really a true crocus),

The word crocus usually conjures images of cheerful small flowers emerging from snow and ice as the first harbinger of spring. But there are a few species of the genus Crocus, part of the iris family (Iridaceae), that bloom in the fall, and other fall-blooming bulbs that have the word crocus in their common name.Autumn crocus in bloom. e US, the commonly called "Autumn Crocus" is not a true crocus at all, but species or hybrids of Colchicum, a group of fall-flowering bulb in the lily family (Lilaceae). Other common names for these plants include meadow saffron, naked lady and colchicum. The genus has been used medicinally – it contains the alkaloid colchicine which relieves the pain and inflammation of gout – but because it is quite toxic when ingested, its use is not recommended except by professionals.

C. autumnale is one of the most commonly grown autumn crocus, but other species, particularly C. speciosum, which is a parent of many of the showy hybrids, are also often available. The taxonomy of this genus is rather confused, and misnaming often occurs in the trade, so many of the so-called species in cultivation are actually hybrids of unknown origin. For example, C. bysantinum, with large corms that produce multiple flower stalks, is probably really a sterile hybrid of C. cilicicum, sometimes offered as C. autumnale ‘Major’. Although there are about 65 species worldwide, the few that are common in the ornamental industry are very similar in appearance and cultivation.

These Colchicum species should not be confused with the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus, also sometimes commonly called autumn crocus; it is only marginally hardy in Wisconsin) which is used as a spice and dye. bulbs" and superficially resemble each other. C. autumnale or C. speciosum should definitely not be used in place of saffron in cooking because eating any part of this plant can be fatal.

Native to Europe and North Africa, C. autumnale grows wild in woods and damp meadows, and has been naturalized in some parts of the US and Canada. It is hardy in zones 5-9 (maybe colder if given extra winter protection) and blooms in September in the Midwest.

The upright, 8-14" leaves of autumn crocus resemble that of a short, dark green tulip or even a romaine lettuce head. Three to eight leaves grow out of a bulb-like corm in the spring and then go dormant in the early summer. The plants are not attractive as the leaves are dying back, but like other bulbs, they need to be left until they dry out in order to supply nutrients to the bulb. Hardy geraniums or other spring or early summer-flowering perennials can camouflage the yellowing colchicum leaves, and then those plants can be sheared back in fall to let the colchicum flowers show.

Autumn crocus flowers. The goblet-shaped flower of Colchicum speciosum (R) has six stamens (L). The large, bulb-like corm of Colchicum speciosum (L). Bulbs often will produce flowers without even being planted. Colchicums naturalize well.


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Autumn Crocus at Carrie Blake Park - …
Autumn Crocus at Carrie Blake Park - …

Aren't jade plants bad for cats?
Here is a list of just some of the many poisonous flowers and plants:
Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, Andromeda japonica, Apple (seeds and wilting leaves) Apple Leaf Croton, Asparagus Fern, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Baby's Breath, Bird of Paradise, Birdnest sansovioria, Bittersweet, Branching Ivy, Buckeye, Buddhist Pine, Caladium, Calla Lily, Carnation, Castor Bean, Ceriman, Cherry (seeds and wilting leaves), Chinaberry Tree (berries, bark, leaves, flowers), Chinese Evergreen, Christmas cactus, Christmas Rose, Chrysanthemum, Cineraria, Clematis, Coleus, Cordatum, Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Croton, Cuban Laurel, Cycads, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Daisy, Day Lily (cats), Dracaena, Dragon Tree, Dumb Cane (all types), Easter Lily...

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  2. Autumn crocus bulbs UK
  3. Autumn crocus Toxin