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Uses

Toxic parts

All parts of the plant, but especially the bulb[1], are poisonous[2][3][4][5][6]. They cause vomiting, violent purging, serious inflammation of the stomach and bowels, and death[7]. Handling the corms can cause skin allergies in some people[8].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Colchicum autumnale.

Material uses

The poisonous alkaloid 'colchicine' is extracted from this plant and used to alter the genetic make-up of plants in an attempt to find new, improved varieties[9][10][5][11][12][13]. It works by doubling the chromosome number[14].
There are no material uses listed for Colchicum autumnale.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Though known since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, autumn crocus was considered too poisonous to use medicinally and it was not until research in the Eighteenth century that the plant was discovered to be of value in the treatment of gout[15]. In modern herbalism it is still used to relieve the pain and inflammation of acute gout and rheumatism, although frequent use has been known to encourage more frequent attacks of the complaint[7][15].

Both the corm and the seeds are analgesic, antirheumatic, cathartic and emetic[2][3][10][16][17]. They are used mainly in the treatment of gouty and rheumatic complaints, usually accompanied with an alkaline diuretic[2]. Leukaemia has been successfully treated with autumn crocus, and the plant has also been used with some success to treat Bechet's syndrome, a chronic disease marked by recurring ulcers and leukaemia[18]. A very toxic plant, it should not be prescribed for pregnant women or patients with kidney disease, and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[8]. See also the notes above on toxicity. The seeds are harvested in early summer, the corms in mid to late summer when the plant has fully died down. They are dried for later use[8].

The fresh bulb is used to make a homeopathic remedy[7]. It is used in the treatment of nausea, diarrhoea and rheumatism[7].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in early summer in a seed bed or a cold frame[19][20]. Germination can be very slow, taking up to 18 months at 15°c[20]. It is best to sow the seed thinly so that it is not necessary to transplant the seedlings for their first year of growth. Apply a liquid fertilizer during their first summer, however, to ensure they get sufficient nourishment. Prick out the seedlings once they are dormant, putting perhaps 2 plants per pot, and grow them on in a greenhouse or frame for at least a couple of years. Plant them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant[K]. The seedlings take 4 - 5 years to reach flowering size[19]. Division of the bulbs in June/July when the leaves have died down[19]. Larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out. The plant can be divided every other year if a quick increase is required[19].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Colchicum autumnale. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a rich well-drained loam in a sunny position[19][21]. Tolerates partial shade but dislikes dry soils[19]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 7.5.

Plants are hardy to about -20°c[1]. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -5°c[22]. The autumn crocus is easily grown in grass[23] and can be naturalized there[1]. It also grows well amongst shrubs and by woodland edges[24]. Plant the corms about 7 - 10cm deep in July[19]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[25], though slugs may attack the corms[8].

The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies[26].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Colchicum autumnale. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Colchicum autumnale.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Colchicum autumnale
Genus
Colchicum
Family
Colchicaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    ?
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.3 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? Altmann. H. Poisonous Plants and Animals. Chatto and Windus ISBN 0-7011-2526-8 (1980-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    6. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.3 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.219.319.419.519.6 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
    21. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    22. ? Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
    23. ? Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30253-1 (1989-00-00)
    24. ? Knight. F. P. Plants for Shade. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0-900629-78-9 (1980-00-00)
    25. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    26. ? Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    27. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

    "image:Colchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Colchicum autumnale"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyColchicaceae +
    Belongs to genusColchicum +
    Has binomial nameColchicum autumnale +
    Has common nameAutumn Crocus +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile +, Bees +, Flies + and Self +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has imageColchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg +
    Has mature height0.15 +
    Has mature width0.15 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnalgesic +, Antirheumatic +, Cathartic +, Emetic + and Homeopathy +
    Has primary imageColchicum autumnale at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.jpg +
    Has search namecolchicum autumnale + and autumn crocus +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameColchicum autumnale +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Colchicum autumnale +, Colchicum autumnale +, Colchicum autumnale +, Colchicum autumnale + and Colchicum autumnale +