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Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Autumn crocus ( Colchicum autumnale )

Subdivision : Seed plants (Spermatophytina)
Class : Bedecktsamer (Magnoliopsida)
Order : Lily-like (Liliales)
Family : Timeless plants (Colchicaceae)
Genre : Timeless
Scientific name

The timeless ( Colchicum ) are a genus of plants within the timeless family (Colchicaceae). The approximately 100 species are distributed over large parts of Eurasia . The autumn crocus ( Colchicum autumnale ) is probably the best-known species of this genus; it is best known for its late flowering period and its toxicity.


Illustration from Koehler's medicinal plants in lifelike images with brief explanatory text , plate 25: Herbstzeitlose. AB flowering, C fruiting plant in natural Size; 1 tuber in longitudinal section, the like; 2 the part swelling to a new tuber, above with ovary, the like; 3 u. 4 flower bud, the like; 5 expanded flower, the like; 6 upper part of the pen, enlarged; 7 stamens the same; 8 pollen, the like; 9 ripe, cracked capsules, natural Size; 10 capsule in cross section, the like; 11 seed, natural Size and enlarged; 12, 13 the same without shell, enlarged
Capsule fruits and seeds of the mountain timeless ( Colchicum montanum )

Vegetative characteristics

The timeless species are perennial herbaceous plants . These geophytes form a subterranean, brown to dark brown sheathed tuber as a persistence organ. The fiber roots sit at the base of the tuber. The young leaves are enclosed by leaf sheaths .

Generative characteristics

One to three flowers are formed directly above the tuber or on a short inflorescence stem . The hermaphrodite flowers are radial symmetry and threefold. The six identical bracts are fused at the base and form a more or less pronounced tube. There are two circles with three stamens each. Three carpels are fused together to form an upper, three- chamber ovary. There are three free pens available.

The septicidal capsule fruit contains many seeds .

Blossom of the alpine autumn crocus ( Colchicum alpinum )
Spring light flower ( Colchicum bulbocodium )
Mountain Timeless Blossom ( Colchicum montanum )
Colchicum speciosum var. Bornmuelleri
Colchicum szovitsii subsp. brachyphyllum
Late checkerboard autumn crocus ( Colchicum variegatum )

Systematics and distribution

The genus Colchicum was established by Carl von Linné . The type species is Colchicum autumnale L. The scientific genus name Colchicum is derived from a landscape on the Black Sea, the Colchis in today's Georgia . This is also the home of the legendary poisoner and sorceress Medea . There is probably a connection between the legends about a poisoner in this region and the occurrence of the timeless species Colchicum variegatum there . Synonyms for Colchicum L. are: Bulbocodium L. , Celsia Boehm. nom. illeg., Abandium Adans. , Merendera Ramond , Geophila Bergeret nom. rej ., Monocaryum (R.Br.) Rchb. , Hermodactylum (R.Br.) Bartl. nom. inval., Eudesmis Raf. nom. superfl., Fouha Pomel , Paludana Salisb. nom. illeg., Synsiphon rule .

John Manning, Felix Forest and Annika Vinnersten propose in 2007 that the approximately 60 species of Androcymbium (50 of them in South Africa) should be included in the genus Colchicum sl, since, unlike in the molecular genetic studies, there are no morphological features that separate Androcymbium and Colchicum could be found. The previous species of Merendera are included in Colchisum , while Persson et al. 2011 the Androcymbium species are not incorporated into the genus Colchicum . The extent of the genus Colchicum is still a matter of controversy.

The genus Colchicum is distributed over large parts of Eurasia with around 100 species . The focus of the genus Colchicum is in the Middle East; 48 species occur in Turkey alone and 64 species in Western Asia .

There are around 100 species of Colchicum :


  • Eugene Nasir: Flora of West Pakistan. 125. Colchicaceae. Stewart Herbarium, Rawalpindi 1979, p. 1 (online at efloras.org and at Tropicos ).
  • Karin Persson: Nomenclatural synopsis of the genus Colchicum (Colchicaceae), with some new species and combinations. In: Botanical yearbooks for systematics, plant history and plant geography. Volume 127, No. 2, 2007, pp. 165-242, DOI: 10.1127 / 0006-8152 / 2007 / 0127-0165 .
  • Tatyana Shulkina: Ornamental plants from Russia and adjacent states of the former Soviet Union . Rostok, St. Petersburg 2004, ISBN 5-94668-032-3 , Colchicum (English, online ).

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c Eugene Nasir: Flora of West Pakistan. 125. Colchicaceae. Stewart Herbarium, Rawalpindi 1979, p. 1 (online at efloras.org and at Tropicos ).
  2. ^ Colchicum at Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, accessed October 1, 2014.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do Rafaël Govaerts (Ed.): Colchicum. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  4. Data sheet with photos at pacificbulbsociety.org .
  5. Karin Persson: A new species of Colchicum (Colchicaceae) from southern Italy. , In: Botanische Jahrbücher , Volume 127, Number 3, 2008, pp. 283–288. Abstract.

Web links

Commons : Timeless ( Colchicum )  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
  • Colchicum in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved October 1, 2014.

further reading

  • Amiel Vasl, Avi Shmida: The adaptive role of nectarial appendages in Colchicum. In: Plant Systematics and Evolution , Volume 301, Issue 6, 2015, pp. 1713-1723. doi : 10.1007 / s00606-014-1188-4
  • Karin Persson, Gitte Petersen, Alberto del Hoyo, Ole Seberg, Tina Jørgensen: A phylogenetic analysis of the genus Colchicum L. (Colchicaceae) based on sequences from six plastid regions. In: Taxon , Volume 60, Issue 5, 2011, pp. 1349-1365. ISSN 0040-0262 JSTOR 41317539
  • John Manning, Felix Forest, Annika Vinnersten: The genus Colchicum L. redefined to include Androcymbium Willd. based on molecular evidence. In: Taxon , Volume 56, Issue 3, 2007, pp. 872-882. JSTOR 25065868