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Autumn Crocus Colchicum

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Autumn Crocus:

Phonetic Spelling
KOHL-chik-um
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Colchicum, or Autumn Crocus, is a perennial herb typically found in pinewoods and mountainous regions. It is a genus of about 45 species of plants from alpine meadows in Europe, North Africa, West and Central Asia, North India and West China. The genus is called autumn crocus because they bloom in fall, but some species bloom in winter or spring. The flowers can be purple, pink, lilac, yellow or white. In late spring, each autumn crocus corm sends up a clump of basal foliage. Foliage gradually yellows and dies by summer as the plants go dormant. Naked flower stems rise from the ground to 4 to 6 inches tall in late summer to early fall bearing cup-shaped, 3 inch flowers. When cultivated it is often used as a houseplant, in a small garden space, along a walkway or border or planted in a lawn.

Autumn Crocus prefers a site with medium moist, well drained, soil; full sun to part shade; and is not cold tolerant, sustaining injury below 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). The plant does best in a rich loam that does not dry out rapidly. It is best grown in a bulb frame. To grow from bulbs, you should bury the corms to a depth of 3 to 5 inches (12.5 cm) and 6 inches apart. You can plant a bulb in summer for bloom that fall; however, plants can take 4 to 5 years to flower when grown from seed. If necessary, dig and divide during the mid-summer dormant period, but the plant will naturalize by itself over time.

All parts of the plant, especially the bulbs, are highly toxic.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

This can be a difficult species to grow outdoors because of its susceptibility to slug damage.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
C. autumnale, C. bulbocodium, 'The Giant', 'Waterlily'
Tags:
#white#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#small spaces#drought tolerant#fall flowers#white flowers#purple flowers#deer resistant#delicate#victorian garden#delicate colors#small plant#Monet#fall bulbs#borders#walkway planting#lawns
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
C. autumnale, C. bulbocodium, 'The Giant', 'Waterlily'
Tags:
#white#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#small spaces#drought tolerant#fall flowers#white flowers#purple flowers#deer resistant#delicate#victorian garden#delicate colors#small plant#Monet#fall bulbs#borders#walkway planting#lawns
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Colchicum
    Family:
    Colchicaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eurasia and Africa
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought, rabbit, and deer
    Bulb Storage:
    Store corms in vermiculite at 63-68 degrees F (17-20 degrees C)
    Edibility:
    Highly toxic and possibly fatal if ingested.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds ripen in spring and early summer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers 3 inches long, tubular, 6-parted, purple-pink to white, flowering in autumn.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Four to six lance-shaped, dark green, basel leaves to 14 inches long appear from spring through summer.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Lawn
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Highly toxic and can be fatal if ingested. Cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, and respiratory failure can result.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloid colchicine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems