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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 bivonae.

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]. It works by doubling the chromosome number[10].
There are no material uses listed for Colchicum bivonae.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Colchicum bivonae.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in early summer in a seed bed or a cold frame[11][12]. Germination can be very slow, taking up to 18 months at 15°c[12]. 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[11]. Division of the bulbs in June/July when the leaves have died down[11]. 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[11].

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


Prefers a rich well-drained loam that does not dry out rapidly in summer[11]. Requires a very sunny position[13].

This is a very difficult species to grow outdoors because of its susceptibility to slug damage, it is best grown in a bulb frame[13]. Plants can take 4 - 5 years to flower when grown from seed[12]. Plant the bulbs about 7 - 10cm deep in July[11].

Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[14].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Colchicum bivonae. 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 bivonae.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Colchicum bivonae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    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.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    2. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 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. ? 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. ? Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Niebuhr. A. D. Herbs of Greece. Herb Society of America. (1970-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
    11. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    12. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30253-1 (1989-00-00)
    14. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    15. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-50