Best of the bunch

Middleton Guardian - - LEISURE -

Colchicum HAVE you seen any naked ladies re­cently? I am re­fer­ring to the gar­den va­ri­ety of course!

So-called be­cause the stem and flower emerge in au­tumn bare of leaves, Colchicum are also known as au­tumn cro­cus be­cause they look sim­i­lar.

Plant in July or Au­gust for au­tumn flow­er­ing – leaves emerge in spring and die down in the sum­mer. Our na­tive Colchicum au­tum­nale grows wild in damp mead­ows, and in the gar­den they pre­fer mois­ture-re­ten­tive soil. The showiest of species is C. spe­cious ‘Al­bum’ with beau­ti­ful pure white flow­ers.

A word of cau­tion – they are highly toxic if in­gested and the bulbs have some­times been mis­taken for ed­i­ble wild gar­lic, lead­ing to ac­ci­den­tal poi­son­ing.

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