Colchicum autumnale

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Colchicum autumnale L.

Colchicaceae

Life form: bulb or tuber
Usage: economic plant / Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun   5

Moisture: moderately moist

Soil: sandy loam

Arrangement: basal
Leaves: semi-evergreen

Shape: linear

Division: simple

Shape: cup-shaped
Fruit: septicidal capsule

75D / cfb0e0 

Inflorescence: solitary

Petals: not specified
Habit: not specified

Growth form: not specified

Taxonomy

Divisio:
Magnoliophyta
Subdivisio:
Magnoliophytina
Classis:
Liliopsida
Subclassis:
Liliidae
Superordo:
Lilianae
Ordo:
Colchicales

Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as Naked ladies, belongs to the group of bulbous and tuberous plants.

Naming

Colchicum autumnale was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name is considered as validly published.

Taxonomy

Colchicum autumnale is the type species of the genus Colchicum which contains approximately 107 to 114 species and belongs to the family of the Colchicaceae (Colchicum Family).

Characteristics

Colchicum autumnale - habitus
Colchicum autumnale - leaves
Colchicum autumnale - flowers

Growth

The plants reach heights of 10 to 15 centimetres.

Leaves

Colchicum autumnale is semi-deciduous. The green, simple leaves are basal. They are linear with entire margins and parallel venation.

Flowers and Fruits

Colchicum autumnale produces solitary light-purple cup-shaped flowers from October to November.

The plants produce septicidal capsules.

Root System

Distribution

Colchicum autumnale is native to the whole of Europe with the exception of northern Europe and is naturalized in Northern Europe.

Cultivation

The plants prefer a sunny situation on moderately moist soil. The substrate should be sandy loam. They tolerate temperatures down to -29°C (USDA zone 5).

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • open areas
  • woodland borders (soil usually rich in humus)

Uses

The recommended planting distance is 30 centimetres, the plants are best planted in groups of 3 to 10. Suited as bee pasture.

Maintenance and Propagation

  • Plant 20 centimetres deep.

Propagate by bulblets.

Cultivars

Poisonousness

Colchicum autumnale is toxic.

Aeskulap  Please read the health issues note

Pests and Diseases

Literature

  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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