Autumn crocus-Colchicum autumnale-pictures of flowers

Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, also known as Meadow Saffron, is a showy, purple, pink or white flower that looks a lot like an over-sized spring flowering crocus, but blooms in autumn.
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.Colchicum autumnale-Autumn crocus-macro

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.
Autumn crocus fieldNext spring, 3-8 grass-like leaves appear, producing food and storing it in the plant's corm, a modified underground bulb.
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.
Autumn crocus in the forestThough its leaves, corm and seeds are deadly poisonous if eaten, Autumn crocus is at risk of extinction, from over-harvest, due to its valuable medicinal properties.
It contains an alkaline substance called colchicine which has a similar effect as arsenic and the poison has no antidote.
Autumn crocus-Colchicum autumnale in the forestDespite its toxicity, colchicine is used today, as it may have been 4,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, to treat rheumatism, dropsy, and prostate enlargement. As with all drugs, healing or killing is just a matter of balance.
Autumn crocus is considered one of the best remedies for acute gout pain.
Leukemia has been successfully treated with autumn crocus as well.
Autumn crocus bouquet
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.


Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Fantastic photos. The color is incredible.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Linnea said...

Beautiful shots! I didn't know about autumn crocus! Thanks for the info. I love the shade of blue...

Evelyn S. said...

The color is absolutely fabulous! I think I've seen some fall crocus plants, but nothing as glorious as these! Beautiful photos.

Joanne Olivieri said...

Wow, just beautiful and I really like the exotic look of these flowers. Wonderful shots.

Larry said...

This is absolutely spectacular! I've always wanted to plant autumn crocus and never seem to get around to it! L

The Write Girl said...

These flowers are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing the flower's history as well. Beautiful entry.

Janie said...

I had never heard of an autumn crocus. They're beautiful, and so are your photos.

Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

Maia I was saving my autumn flowering crocus and colchicums for next week. There are lots of different types - Colchicum autumnale along with crocus speciosus are what I have in flower just now.

The Crocus speciosus ones I much prefer as they have fine leaves in the spring while I have great trouble hiding the big stappy ugly leaves from the colchicums. They look alot like yours only the stamens in mine are long and yellow rather than long and purple.

I've never seen so many crocus in one area during the autumn before Maia. It looks spectacular.

EG CameraGirl said...

Very beautiful, all of them!

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful. We don't have many autumn crocus where I live. Thanks for sharing Maia.

SouthernSass said...

Those are beautiful flowers, and great shots!

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