Leaves about 1 mm wide, emerging with flowers. Perianth various shades of mauve, darker veined, shading to lilac in the hairy throat; segments 4-5 cm long; tube 6-13 cm. Anthers yellow. Style branches 3, red, much longer than stamens.
Unknown in the wild, probably bred in the E Mediterranean region.
C. cartwrightianus Herbert from S Greece differs in having smaller flowers, and may be the wild diploid from which C. sativus, a sterile triploid, was produced.
Possible hybrid cultivars include:
'Advance' Flowers bronze-yellow, shaded cream inside, mauve outside.
'Cream Beauty' Flowers cream-white with golden yellow throat and mauve blotch externally.
var. fuscotinctus Bak. Flowers with purple feathery markings on the backs of the perianth segments.
'Gipsy Girl' Flowers yellow, striped purple on the outside.
'Goldilocks' Flowers golden yellow with 3 fine lines on back of outer segments.
'Saturnus' Flowers light yellow with purple blotch and streaks on outer segments.
'Snow Bunting' Flowers pure white with yellow throat.
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.