Colchicum byzantinum and friends

Jane McGary
Sun, 04 Oct 2009 11:49:19 PDT
Russell Stafford wrote:
>Colchicum laetum hort. has been given the name 'Pink Star'.  It is
>considered by some to be a selection of C. byzantinum.  Plants I have
>acquired from Holland under the name C. laetum have proven to be
>close to C. byzantinum, complete with hooked crimson stigmas.  They
>depart from the latter in some ways though -- for one thing the corms
>are smaller.  This has puzzled me somewhat, as the corms of C. laetum
>hort. are supposed to be similar in size to those of typical C.
>byzantinum.  Additionally, my C. laetum/'Pink Star' does not flower
>earlier than C. byzantinum, as it's supposed to.  I sometimes wonder
>whether there are several clones of C. byzantinum in cultivation, and
>I have something different from both typical C. byzantinum and 'Pink Star'.

The plant I have as C. laetum flowers just a little before C. 
byzantinum, but at the same time as "C. byzantinum album hort," aka 
C. 'Innocence'. The "C. laetum" hort. here has hooked crimson stigmas 
as Russell mentions.

I don't think corm size is very diagnostic in the large colchicums, 
because it varies greatly depending on cultural conditions. Corm 
shape is helpful in identifying some of them, though, e.g. C. 
bivonae, which has a distinctive shape like a squashed sphere. Even 
shape, however, would be affected by how crowded the corms have 
become if they haven't been lifted regularly, or if they have become 
deeply buried and have elongated.

Jane Mcgary

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