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Colchicum cilicicum
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

Cilician meadow saffron

A cormous perennial 10cm high with semi-erect, narrowly elliptic to elliptic-lance-shaped leaves, 30-40cm long, from winter to spring, and 3-25 funnel-shaped flowers, 4-7.5cm long, with purplish pink tepals, sometimes deeper in colour towards the blunt tips, in autumn; colchicums are a useful late-season source of pollen for honeybees

Synonyms
Colchicum decaisnei misapplied
Colchicum balansae var. macrophyllum
see moreColchicum byzantinum var. cilicicum
Colchicum × byzantinum auct.
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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer
Autumn Pink Purple
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Colchicaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Highly toxic if eaten, and contact with skin may cause irritation. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Colchicum are cormous perennials with usually coarse, broadly strap-shaped leaves which appear with or after the goblet-shaped flowers

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Turkey Syria Lebanon

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How to grow

Cultivation

Using gloves to handle corms, plant 10cm deep in summer or early autumn in deep, fertile and well-drained but reasonably moist soil in an open site in full sun; for more advice, see bulb cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by seed, sown in containers in an open frame as soon as it is ripe, or by removing cormlets when dormant in summer; for more advice, see bulb propagation

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Gravel garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Rock garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

May be affected by slugs

Diseases

May be affected by grey moulds (Botrytis), smuts, and tulip grey bulb rot

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