Colchicum

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Related to False Autumn Crocus: Colchicum autumnale, autumn crocuses

colchicum

[′käl·chi·kəm]
(botany)
Any plant of the genus Colchicum, a part of the lily family (mainly the autumn crocus).

Colchicum

 

a genus of perennial herbs of the family Liliaceae. They are plants with a short stem and a corm. The flowers (one to eight) are large and of various colors. The plants of some species flower in late autumn and bear fruit (pods) the following spring; hence the name—Russian bezvremennik, zimovnik (autumn crocus). There are about 60 species, mainly in the Mediterranean countries, in Iran, and as far east as northern India. In the USSR there are ten species, mostly in the foothills and mountains of the Caucasus and some in the Crimea and Middle Asia. The autumn crocus contains alkaloids in its seeds and corm: colchicine, used in genetics and selection for artificially obtaining polyploids and in medicine for treating gout; and deacetyl-methylcolchicine (colchamine), used in the treatment of some diseases of the blood and a number of malignant tumors. Many autumn crocuses, including the showy autumn crocus (C. speciosum) and common autumn crocus, or meadow saffron (C. autumnale), are raised as decorative plants.

REFERENCE

Zakhariadi, K. A., and Z. T. Artiushenko. “Sistematika i mor-fologiia nekotorykh vidov roda Colchicum L. iugo-vostochnoi Evropy i Kavkaza.” Botanicheskii zhurnal, 1968, vol. 53, no. 3.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV