Colchicum speciosum

26 Nov

Colchicum speciosum detail (12/11/2011, Kew, London)

Colchicum speciosum detail (12/11/2011, Kew, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Autumn

Soil: Moist, well-drained

Eventual Height: 30 cm

Eventual Spread: 15 cm

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a 10b, 11

Family: Colchicaceae

Colchicum speciosum is a vigorously growing cormous perennial, with an erect growth habit and shiny, glossy and textured leaves. The leaves are lance shaped leaves that are roughly 7 to 10 inches long. The  linear strap shaped leaves form a rosette and are dark green, emerge in spring, then go dormant in late may. The flowers are produced without leaves, appear in September and are red/ pink/ violet in colour. The flowers are cup or goblet shaped in appearance and have yellow anthers. 

Colchicum speciosum (12/11/2011, Kew, London)

Colchicum speciosum (12/11/2011, Kew, London)

Colchicum speciosum, commonly known as Naked Ladies, Autumn Crocus and Meadow Saffron, is native to the mountainous areas of northern Turkey and other parts of the Caucasus region. Most parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

The etymological root of the binomial name Colchicum is named after a province of Asia Minor, where the plant abounds. Speciosum is derived from the Latin meaning ‘showy’.

The landscape architect may find Colchicum speciosum useful as an attractive cormous perennial plant for naturalising under deciduous trees. This plant prefers dappled shade.

Colchicum speciosum has been awarded the prestigious Royal Horticultural Societies annual Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Colchicum speciosum prefers a deep, fertile, well drained soil. It will tolerate most pH of soil.

Colchicum speciosum requires little maintenance.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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