Crocus tournefortii

27 Dec

Crocus tournefortii (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Crocus tournefortii (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering Period: Autumn to early winter

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 10cm

Eventual Spread: 5cm

Hardiness:  4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a,  8b, 9a

Family: Iridaceae

Crocus tournefortii is a deciduous, dwarf perennial corm with a tufted growth habit. Its dark green leaves are linear with entire margins, a silvery central stripe, up to 8cm long and 3mm wide. The leaves appear before the flowers in late summer. The pale blue/ purple flowers are borne singly, up to 36m long, goblet in shape with six petals and stays open at night. Its distinctive style is bright orange and branches towards its end.

Crocus tournefortii, commonly known as the Tournefort Crocus, is native to south Greece, including its islands. In its native habitat it grows in coastal scrub and rock crevices.

The etymological root of the binomial name Crocus is derived from the Greek name Krokos, a thread, which was actually the filaments of the styles being the source of the dye.  Tournefortii is named after Joseph de Tournefort (1656 – 1708), a French botanist.

The landscape architect may find Crocus tournefortii useful as a late flowering corm/ bulb suitable for rock gardens.

Crocus tournefortii Flower (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Crocus tournefortii Flower (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Crocus tournefortii flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

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

Crocus tournefortii prefers moist, poor to moderately fertile, well drained soil. It will tolerate most pH of soil. It required dry soils during the summer months and will not tolerate water-logging.

Crocus tournefortii requires little maintenance.

Davis Landscape Architecture


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