Identifying Colchicum

Started by janemcgary, October 01, 2023, 12:39:10 PM

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Are Colchicum seeds recalcitrant? One of the seeds has a white thread which might be a radicle. I did not even see it while photographing, only now when I cropped the photo. Those seeds are sown now so I cannot put it under a microscope. I'd never seen Colchicum seed before. 
I neglect my garden on the central coast of California

Diane Whitehead

I have only tried germinating colchicum twice - C. bornmuelleri - in 2000.  One seed germinated in 2008.  It continues to put up a leaf every year but has not flowered yet.

In 2007 I sowed C. boissieri which did not germinate at all.

I decided never to grow any from seed again.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil


I am realizing Colchicum germinate differently than most everything else I grow from seed. If this information source is correct, from Strictly Medicinal Seeds, then I'll set the seed pots in a shady, cool spot with less daytime light and heat. That agrees with the 1 to 2 cm of grit over the seeds that the PBS wiki Colchicum page says. Night temperatures are regularly below 40 F lately so they'll get plenty of chill.

I chose C. corsicum in hopes my climate is like Corsica so this species might do well here.
I neglect my garden on the central coast of California


I've grown many species of Colchicum from seed, and their germination is very hard to predict. Few or none germinate the year when sown. They may germinate 1, 2, or 3 years later, and curiously, several species from different years of sowing can germinate within a week or two. I assume some temperature variation is responsible. I keep my seed pots in a shed where the temperatures are close to ambient. So keep the seed pots  for 3 years. After that I dump the whole pot, seeds and all, in among the plunged pots in my bulb house, and various things have germinated there, species to be identified.