Autumn crocus history

Friends of Chorlton Meadows

July 16, 2014 – 06:16 pm

File:Colchicum autumnale

Last year I posted an article, on this blog, about the Autumn Crocus (Crocus nudiflorus), which is such a feature of the Mersey Valley, especially the river banks, at this time of year. I related how this species is not native to Britain but comes originally from South West Europe. The conventional theory is that these plants were introduced into Britain by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem – one of the Military Orders, formed after the Siege of Jerusalem. The Knights of St. John were a medical order, also known as the Knights Hospitallers, who may have used the saffron from the Crocuses in herbal medicines. The Knights had holdings in the Southern Pennines, around Halifax, Oldham and Rochdale, and our plants may have been washed down the Pennine watershed in winter floods.

In a later article about the Spring Crocus (Crocus vernus) I related the alternative theory that our Crocuses were introduced by the Cluniac monks of Lenton Priory in Nottinghamshire. It’s interesting to note that the Lenton Priory monks had an isolated hermitage near Salford – Kersall Cell in the Irwell Valley. Earlier this year Prestwich local historian, Ian Pringle showed me the unmistakable leaves of Autumn Crocuses in the Irwell Valley near St. Mary’s Church, Prestwich, which certainly lends some credence to this theory.
There’s no reason, of course, why both theories can’t be true and maybe Autumn Crocuses were introduced by more than one religious order.


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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...

Related posts:

  1. Autumn crocus life cycle
  2. Autumn crocus bulbs UK
  3. Autumn crocus Toxin
  4. Autumn Crocus Botany