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COLCHICUM luteum

Image of Colchicum luteum

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

COLCHICUM luteum

Plant Common Name

Yellow Meadow Saffron

General Description

Yellow meadow saffron is one of the most exquisite and uncommon spring flowering bulbs. This petite perennial from Afghanistan, northern India and Tibet grows from a small bulb-like corm. Its bright yellow flower buds arise on stalk-like tubes in late winter, emerging just after the green lance-shaped leaves. The floral tube usually has reddish-brown blushing which continues into the lowest part of the petal-like flower segments. Each corm can produce up to four small, goblet-shaped blossoms. The leaves wither in late spring.

This beautiful perennial is exacting in its requirements. Plant its corms in gritty, fast-draining soil in full sun and provide water when you see active growth. Withhold water after the leaves die back. Often this plant is cultured in an alpine house or bulb frame, so that conditions can be perfectly controlled. Too much moisture causes the corms to rot.

All parts of Colchicum contain the potent alkaloid colchicine; see http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Colchau.htm

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Width

    3"-10" / 7.6cm - 25.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Asia, Central Asia, India

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Container, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No