Greek krokos – saffron, as C. sativus is the source of this spice.
Small perennial herbs with corms. Leaves all basal, narrow-linear, with a broad white midline stripe. Flowers radially symmetrical, sessile with the ovary below ground. Spathe may be absent, or form a whitish sheath around the bud. Stamens inserted in tube, free. Style deeply divided into 3 or numerous thread-like branches.
85 species in Mediterranean, C Europe and SW Asia.
Flowers with long tubes emerging directly from soil; leaves (if present) linear, whitestriped.
Most species by seed; cultivars and C. sativus by offsets only.
Lawrence (1954a, b), Mathew (1982, 2002), Jacobsen (1997).
Source: (2005). Iridaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.