Colchicum

Colchicum is a plant genus containing around sixty perennials growing from corms. It is a member of the Liliaceae or the (Lily) family and is native to West Asia and part of the Mediterranean coast.

Colchicum autumnale, commonly called Autumn Crocus or Naked Ladies, is the best known species. It produces purple, pink or white flowers resembling those of the crocus which appear from September to October in its native latitudes. It forms a rosette of dark green leaves, but only after flowering.

Several other species such as C. speciosum, C. album, C. corsicum and C. agrippinum are grown for their flowers.

Its leaves, corm and seeds are poisonous, containing the alkaloid colchicine. But the root and seeds were long considered to have valuable medicinal properties, based on the use of small doses of this drug.


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