Although related by their name, Spring and Autumn Crocuses belong to different plant families; Spring Flowering Crocus is a member of the Iris Family (Iridaceae) together with the Iris and Gladiolus while Autumn Crocus belongs to the Lily family (Liliaceae) along with the Lilies, Tulips, and Hyacinths.
Colchicum is native to West Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and parts of the Mediterranean coast.
Autumn crocus has an unusual life cycle; its large colorful flowers arise from the earth without any accompanying foliage, the reason it is also called the "naked lady". The flowers appear in September - November and they offer a breathtaking view on field and forest ground for 2-3 weeks.
Than they die back.
By early summer the foliage dries and the plant remains dormant within the soil. Usually in September (in our country), with the autumn rains, after summer's heat and drought Autumn crocus starts blooming.
It contains an alkaline substance called colchicine which has a similar effect as arsenic and the poison has no antidote.
Autumn crocus is considered one of the best remedies for acute gout pain.
Leukemia has been successfully treated with autumn crocus as well.
Though Autumn crocus can be mistaken for wild garlic (Aliium ursinum), accidental poisoning with Colchicum autumnale is very rare.
It is wise to keep this beauty out of the garden, for those having small children.
These photos were taken in the forests of the Botanical Gardens of Cluj-Napoca.
Visit Macro Flowers Saturday for many beautiful flower photos.