geff.2007's picture

Meadow Saffron

Observed: 25th September 2012 By: geff.2007geff.2007’s reputation in Plantsgeff.2007’s reputation in Plantsgeff.2007’s reputation in Plantsgeff.2007’s reputation in Plantsgeff.2007’s reputation in Plants

Confused by information in my books. I have id'd this as Meadow Saffron because it has 6 stamens where Autumn Crocus has just 3. However Wikipedia states that Meadow Saffron is commonly known as Autumn Crocus? Also some refs say the flowers come after the leaves have died, others before? Picture 4 is interesting with a single Pea flower growing through.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale) interacts


lavateraguy's picture

Autumn Crocus vs Autumn Crocus

The name autumn crocus is applied both to Colchicum and to autumn flowering species of Crocus.

To add to the confusion, saffron is a species of Crocus. (But Stace uses meadow saffron for Colchicum autumnale).

David Trevan's picture

Crocus/ Colchicum

The easy way I remember this is to distinguish the families by looking at the number of stamens.Crocus is in the Iridaceae family and has 3 stamens, Colchicum was in the Liliaceae family( and I think always will be to most horticulturists!) and has 6 stamens.Sadly Stace puts Colchicum in a family of it's own the Colchicaceae,to add to the confusion.Colchicums are commonly known as "Naked Ladies" as they produce flowers before the foliage, but not in every species.Some years ago when I was collecting for Kew I found Colchicum hungaricum in Northern Greece, this species produces flowers and foliage at the same time!It's also very beautiful.

David J Trevan

GrizzledBadger's picture

Aka Naked Ladies, leaves

Aka Naked Ladies, leaves emerge in spring & don't look like the narrow grass-like leaves of Crocus. Seed pods are larger too.


geff.2007's picture

Thanks to you all for the

Thanks to you all for the extra info.