Blooming Today (September 25, 2015) : Colchicum ("Autumn Crocus")

This is not a true Crocus but  is frequently referred to by its common name of "Autumn Crocus" because of the large crocus-like lavender flowers that it produces in fall. Bold green foliage emerges in spring and goes into dormancy for the summer months. Then, just when the garden is starting to look tired and finished, beautiful, large,  fresh,  "naked" (leafless) flowers appear. They are so striking and unexpected that we've even had visitors scold us for putting artificial flowers in the garden!
This bulb is best planted in early fall, before most other fall bulbs are planted. First year bulbs will actually produce flowers right in the retail display box if not planted early enough.
Colchicum is valued for its late season showiness but also shows great promise as a medicinal plant, including the treatment of cancer. The compound Colchicine, derived from this plant, is also used  in commercial plant production to alter the number of chromosomes in plants (for instance converting a diploid daylily to a tetraploid). As with many powerful compounds, though, Colchicine is highly toxic when not handled carefully. This plant is perfectly safe to include in the garden as long as you do not have inquisitive pets that are prone to eating your garden flowers. Deer & rabbits are wise enough not to touch it!
We carry three varieties:
'The Giant' : Huge single mauve-pink crocus-like flowers with prominent contrasting white centers.  Very Showy! Heirloom, Circa 1925.
'Double Waterlily': Double lilac-rose waterlily-like flowers arise from the earth in autumn. Magical.
Heirloom, circa 1930
'Album': Large pure white crocus-like flowers in fall.
 USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8.
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