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Any plant of the genus Colchicum, a part of the lily family (mainly the autumn crocus).
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Colchicums are often more expensive than tulips and daffodils but well worth the money.
Reichenberg during my 14th week and she prescribed meadow saffron (Colchicum).
(2001) observed that, "Although colchicine is a well known product of the autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale), it is found in approximately 200 species of plants across 20 genera", based on their examination of the literature.
Copeman, the disappearance of colchicum was a case of Renaissance philosophy influencing medical treatments.
Colchicums prefer a rich, welldrained soil in sun or dappled shade, creating spotlights among groundcover plants whose foliage can offer support to the new blooms.
The period of dormancy for colchicum is so brief that dry bulbs may have been hanging around for a long time and it is always better to buy plants in active growth.
It's a rare excitement to find something new thrusting through the earth in autumn, and that's just one reason to love colchicums...
Although colchicums are hardly woodlanders (they prefer the sun), Colchicum speciosum 'Album' is planted close to the path edges and it always puts on a fine show, though fingers are firmly crossed that it gets the chance to shine before torrential rain and wind turn its fireworks into damp squibs.
| COLCHICUM and autumn crocus should be planted out into the ground as soon as they become available to buy from your local garden centre.
RAGING PUCE The silver, furry lambs' lugs of Stachys byzantina are tough enough to survive being overcome by colchicum leaves and make a perfect foil both in texture and colour to the raging puce of some colchicum flowers.
Some top autumn flowerers are Crinum macowanii, Scilla scilloides, Cyclamen hederifolium, Amaryllis belladonna, Leucojum autumnalei, Colchicum and Nerine.