TOW Crocus Species

John Lonsdale
Tue, 04 Feb 2003 18:02:52 PST

How many C. kotschyanus are you looking for ?  I have numerous clones here
that flower very reliably and are quite variable, from very pale to quite
dark, all with lovely veins.  You can see some here:…

I don't have large numbers of any one clone though.

All of the crocus images at my web site can be seen here (about 450

To follow up on earlier e-mails from Tony, Jim et al, the following is a
list of crocus (species include ssp. and vars.) that do very well outdoors

Sand beds, summer dry but uncovered year round - medius, niveus,
cartwrightianus, goulimyi, tournefortii, boryi, cancellatus, speciosus,
hadriaticus, longiflorus, serotinus, leitchlinii, chrysanthus, antalyensis,
flavus, biflorus, laevigatus, korolkowii, pulchellus, cvijicii, baytopiorum,
gargaricus ssp. gargaricus.

Well drained edge of woodland beds (i.e damper and a bit more shade) -
nudiflorus, banaticus, kotschyanus ssp. suworowianus, vallicola, gargaricus
ssp. herbertii.

In the US there is a paucity of crocus offered for sale, those that are tend
to be clones bulked up and wholesaled by the Dutch.  Apart from the
kotschyanus we've already heard about there is nothing intrinsically wrong
with these, indeed many are lovely, but bear in mind they were generally
selected for vegetative increase.  As most are clonal they also reproduce
poorly, if at all when self-pollinated.  In the wild crocus generally occur
as isolated plants and reproduction is almost exclusively by seed.

The best way to get a nice collection of crocus with intra-specific
variation that sets seed regularly is to sow wild collected seed.  This is
offered infrequently by several sources, although none are usually available
directly within the US.  This past year Marcus Harvey in Tasmania offered
some great collections, Jim Archibald offers good material in the UK, as
does Mike Salmon (although both of these are more and more from garden
plants sourced from theirs and other's original collections) , two Czech
plantsmen offer seed (Jan Jilek and Vlastimil Pilous) and the Crocus Group
is also a great source of wild collected seed.  The mainstream societies
also have some.

I have a couple of hundred pots of crocus at various stages of maturity and
many more collections in the garden - once you sow seed regularly there's
many new species in flower each year.  Crocus is one of those genera where
flower color is often a very poor guide to identity and the variation you
get from seed from a single wild population is astounding.  Go for it !


Dr John T Lonsdale
407 Edgewood Drive,
Exton, Pennsylvania 19341,  USA

Phone: 610 594 9232
Fax: 801 327 1266

Visit "Edgewood" - The Lonsdale Garden at

Zone 6b

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