Colchicum chimonanthum

(Colchicum chimonanthum)

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Description

Colchicum (/ˈkɒltʃɪkəm/ or /ˈkɒlkɪkəm/) is a genus of perennial flowering plants containing around 160 species which grow from bulb-like corms. It is a member of the botanical family Colchicaceae, and is native to West Asia, Europe, parts of the Mediterranean coast, down the East African coast to South Africa and the Western Cape. In this genus, the ovary of the flower is underground. As a consequence, the styles are extremely long in proportion, often more than 10 cm (4 in). All species in the genus are toxic. The common names "autumn crocus", "meadow saffron" and "naked lady" may be applied to the whole genus or to many of its species; they refer to the "naked" crocus-like flowers that appear in late summer or autumn, long before the strap-like foliage which appears in spring. Colchicum and Crocus look alike and can be confused by the casual observer. To add to the confusion, there are autumn-flowering species of crocus. However, colchicums have 3 styles and 6 stamens, while crocuses have 1 style and 3 stamens. In addition, the corm structures are quite different—in colchicum, the corm is irregular, while in crocuses, the corm is like a flattened ball. Crocus is in the Iris Family, Iridaceae.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum:
Class: Liliopsida
Order:Liliales
Family:Colchicaceae
Genus:Colchicum
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