Bulbocodium is a small genus in the Colchicaceae family from southern, central and Eastern Europe with erect purple funnel-shaped flowers in spring. It is a relative of Colchicum and included in it by many authorities including The Plant List. It differs mainly in not having three separate styles, instead having one, which divides into three right at the tip. Bulbocodium means 'a wool covered bulb'.
Bulbocodium vernum L., syn. Colchicum bulbocodium Ker Gawl. (the currently accepted name as per the Plant List), or syn. Colchicum vernum, is a species of European mountains from the Pyrenees and Alps to Austria in open alpine meadows. Commonly called "spring meadow saffron", it flowers in early spring, before much foliage has appeared and is about 4 inches high. Note: Unlike Crocus sativus, the saffron Crocus, all parts of B. vernum are poisonous. This species prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil; WHZ 3-8. Introduced to English gardens from Spain around 1629. First photo by Judy Glattstein, remainder by David Pilling of bulbs in a 5" plant pot. Photo four shows that 3 or more flowers emerge from each set of leaves. Photo five illustrates that a couple of months after the flowers die back the stem elongates and a seed pod is formed. Seeds are short lived when stored dry, germination requires a cold period.
Photo of corms by Dr. Dimitri Zubov:
Bulbocodium versicolor (Ker Gawl.) Spreng. is a synonym for **Colchicum bulbocodium subsp. versicolor (Ker Gawl.) K.Perss. (as per the Plant List). Photo of the corm of a polyploid clone from Ukraine by Dr. Dimitri Zubov.