Colchicum from Seed

Jim McKenney
Fri, 19 Feb 2010 12:15:30 PST
Jim Jones wrote: “A successful example is C. autumnale: sown 12/89; germ.
2/91; bloomed 9/99.  May I point out that it is readily available
commercially, including improved forms.”

Jim, I wish it were so. In my experience, true Colchicum autumnale is not at
all common in the trade. What is common is the plant sold as Colchicum
autumnale ‘Major’. But this is not Colchicum autumnale, it is C. byzantinum.

I’ve often wondered about the relationship of the “improved forms” to true
Colchicum autumnale. Three of the most frequently encountered, the ones
called C. autumnale ‘Album’ and the doubled flowered pink and white forms,
do not bloom with the stocks of true Colchicum autumnale which I have grown.
These “improved forms” bloom much later for me. 

True Colchicum autumnale has a wide distribution in nature I think; it’s
plausible that these improved forms originated from forms which are late
blooming in nature (in other words, middle eastern rather than the
transalpine European forms) or just as likely represent ancient garden
hybrids involving species which superficially look like C. autumnale.   

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7 where white still rules and green is hardly to be seen. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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