Crocus kotschyanus; was RE: Scilla lingulata ciliolata and some crocuses

Jim McKenney
Tue, 27 Oct 2009 12:18:56 PDT

Roger, I'm well aware that good forms of Crocus kotschyanus exist - several
grow in this garden. The color of this commonly grown species is difficult
to describe; I think of them as being opalescent because depending on the
light conditions, they might appear to range among pale blue, or pinkish
lilac, or dull matte mauve. I was looking at the crocuses in one of the
frames the other day - a dull, overcast day - and I was surprised to see how
close in color C. kotschyanus, C. thomasii, C. cartwrightianus, C.
pulchellus and C. longiflorus were when there was no sun. They are not
exactly alike, but from a few feet away and without sunlight, they are very

I have no idea what causes the deformation seen in the plants of Crocus
kotschyanus I described; but if it is virus, the commercial growers seem
unconcerned by it. Doesn't it seem unlikely that a commercial crocus grower
would tolerate a virus infected stock year after year? You would think that
commercial growers would be quick to get rid of virused stock; yet this
plant has been around for a long time and stocks from commercial sources are
"pure" - all of the plants show this condition. Evidently it is being
propagated vegetatively. 

And if it is a virus, it apparently does not affect the vigor of the plant:
the corms of this form are often very large compared to those of other forms
of Crocus kotschyanus. 

Now on to another topic related to this species. In the past I've mentioned
a local lawn in which hundreds, maybe thousands, of Crocus kotschyanus
flowered yearly. I went by this site the other day and was dismayed to see
very few of the crocuses - perhaps a dozen were there. Does anyone know if
there are lawn weed killers which will kill the crocuses and not the grass?
What a pity...

Jim McKenney

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