Colchicum byzantinum and friends

Russell Stafford, Odyssey Bulbs
Sun, 04 Oct 2009 15:18:31 PDT
Another baffling entity that appears to be allied with C. autumnale 
or C. byzantinum is C. tenorii, which has starry flowers with 
wide-flaring narrow segments and crimson-tipped styles.  It blooms 
later than C. byzantinum, opening its flowers at about the same time 
as C. cilicicum and C. autumnale 'Album'.  In my last post I confused 
the bloom time of 'Pink Star'/C. laetum hort. with this plant.  'Pink 
Star' does indeed bloom earlier here.

On the other hand, I find C. byzantinum and C. cilicicum to be quite 
distinct.  Of the two, C. cilicicum blooms considerably later, is 
usually darker in flower, and has much longer styles.  Its habit is 
also "tighter".  Finally, the corms are very different -- C. 
cilicicum has broadly conical corms, whereas those of C. byzantinum 
are flattened spheres.

As Jane notes, corms of different provenance can vary widely in their 
characteristics.   For example, my C. bivonae corms are cone-shaped, 
like those illustrated in Phillips & Rix.


At 02:49 PM 10/4/2009, you wrote:
>Jane McGary wrote:
>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

Russell Stafford
Odyssey Bulbs
PO Box 382
South Lancaster, MA  01561

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