Colchicums (KOL-chik-ums) though not true crocuses, also grow from a modified bulb called a corm and their flowers resemble the familiar crocus. Colchicums, however, bloom in late fall, after their leaves die down. Their corms are poisonous, the natural source of the drug colchicine, used to treat gout. Although the most popular species of colchicum is called Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale), it is also known as Meadow Saffron to distinguish it from the true autumn crocus.
Height And Spread
Meadow saffron colchicum plants grow 6 to 10 inches tall. In leaf, plants are about 3 to 4 inches wide.
Colchicum flowers are 2 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide in full bloom. They're flaring or funnel-shaped, have 6 petals, and rise directly from the corm on a tube-like slender stalk. There are 4 to 20 flowers per corm. Flower colors range from white/pink to pink to lilac/purple. They bloom in October, long after their leaves have died back.
Colchicum leaves emerge in the spring. Somewhat coarse, they are dark green, oblong and measure 1 to 2 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches long. There are 4 to 6 leaves per colchicum plant. They die back in the early summer.