Colchicum L.

Autumn Crocus

Named for the ancient country of Colchis on the Black Sea.

Perennial cormous herbs. Leaves annual in a basal rosette, sheathing, linear. Flowers opening wide, radially symmetrical, shortly stalked, stalks not articulated. Inflorescence a terminal, more or less stalkless, 1-many-flowered umbel. Tepals 3+3, fused. Stamens 3+3, attached to tepal tube. Styles 3, free. Fruit a dehiscent capsule. Seeds spherical, brown.

Grown for the delicate crocus-like flowers in full sun to light shade. Most species are cultivated as ornamentals and there are numerous hybrids and cultivars. At least 8 species are grown in Australia.

About 45 species from E Europe, Asia Minor and N Africa across to W China and India.

The clustered linear leaves and the stalkless clusters of broadly tubular flowers with 3 free styles.

Burtt et al. (1968), Bowles (1985), Persson (1999a, b, c).

Source: Conran, J. (2005). Colchicaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Liliales
family       Colchicaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Colchicum agrippinum Bak.
species         Colchicum bulbocodium Ker Gawl.
species         Colchicum byzantinum Ker Gawl.
species         Colchicum soboliferum
species         Colchicum speciosum Steven.