Crocus

Crocus is a genus in the Iridaceae family that is widespread, found in Europe, North Africa and in Asia. There are about 90 species. The standard reference on the genus is Brian Mathew, The Crocus, but at least half a dozen taxa, including new species, have been described since its publication. Other reference books that are helpful with this genus are The Smaller Bulbs and The Random House Book of Bulbs. A classic Crocus reference book is A Handbook of Crocus & Colchicum for Gardeners, by E. A. Bowles. It was first published in 1924 and is now out of date taxonomically, but it's an entertaining read by a legendary Crocus-lover.

Crocus Species in the Garden was the topic of the week for the Pacific Bulb Society list in February 2003. This discussion was led by Tony Goode. Click on this link for his Introduction. His Crocus Pages web site has images of most taxa and some basic information about all. The Scottish Rock Garden Club is another excellent resource for this genus based on Tony's work. You can find pdf files for individual species here. John Lonsdale also has an extensive Crocus collection, and has posted photos at his Edgewood Gardens website. Smaller versions of a number of John's photos are reproduced in this wiki, with his permission.

Some species bloom in the fall, before, with, or after leaf dehiscence, some in the winter, and some in the spring. Seasonality is relative on these pages, which means the bloom time varies depends on where the grower lives. Those that bloom in the fall need a warm summer dormancy. Those that bloom in the spring need a cold dormancy. Those that bloom in the winter seem to bloom in winter of Mediterranean climate which is rather mild with little to no frost. Since frost is the limiting factor, the following pages are separated into fall blooming, and spring blooming for simplicity.

Crocus species are susceptible to viral disease. This is usually visible in the flowers. This distortion may take the form of twisted petals, streaking (as in tulip fire), sometimes the flowers are depauperate and fail to open properly. The virus also reveals itself as light and dark blotching in the foliage which is most visible when the foliage first emerges. The first three pictures here from Tony Goode have been manipulated to exaggerate the streaking in flower and foliage to make it more apparent. (Massive hike in contrast levels does this.) The third picture shows ones with distorted petals. The vectors are aphids which find refuge especially on the backs of the leaves. See the Virus page for more information. The fourth photo below is of a plant with Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) and the last is a photo of Crocus speciosus which is infected with CMV and Iris Severe Mosaic Virus. Photos 4-5 from Janos Agoston.

Crocus virus 1, Tony GoodeCrocus virus 2, Tony GoodeCrocus virus 3, Tony GoodeCMV infection in Crocus chrysanthus 'Fuscotinctus', Janos AgostonCMV & ISMV infected Crocus speciosus, Janos Agoston

In general Crocus plants have very short stems; the seed pods only become visible at the end of the growing season, long after the flowers have vanished, when the stems elongate. Sometimes the seed pods remain at or below ground level. Seeds may be of the sweet sticky type attractive to ants and thus growing best when sown at 2 or 3 cm depth after washing. Each year a new corm grows on top of the old one, which then dies, often extra corms are also produced. A common characteristic is a white stripe down the middle of the ensiform leaf. Crocus enthusiasts are known as 'croconuts'. Photographs by David Pilling show seed pods, seeds on a 10 mm grid, corm development, a leaf and shoots of Crocus chrysanthus 'Romance' (left and characteristically of Crocus chrysanthus tinted yellow) and Crocus ancyrensis in mid-December. See Crocus Compared for comparisons of species.

Crocus seed, David PillingCrocus seed, David PillingCrocus seed, David PillingCrocus corms, David PillingCrocus leaf, David PillingCrocus shoots, David Pilling

More information and photos of species can be found by selecting the fall and spring blooming Crocus wiki pages listed below or by clicking on a specific species in the table below.
Fall Blooming crocus A-H - Fall Blooming crocus I-O - Fall Blooming crocus P-Z - Spring Blooming crocus A-B - Spring Blooming crocus C-E - Spring Blooming crocus F-L - Spring Blooming crocus M-S - Spring Blooming crocus T-Z


Crocus species
Crocus abantensis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus abantensis
Crocus adanensis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus adanensis
Crocus aerius, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus aerius
Crocus alatavicus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus alatavicus
Crocus aleppicus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus aleppicus
Crocus ancyrensis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus ancyrensis
Crocus angustifolius, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus angustifolius
Crocus antalyensis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus antalyensis
Crocus asumaniae, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus asumaniae
Crocus banaticus - divided style, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus banaticus
Crocus baytopiorum, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus baytopiorum
Crocus biflorus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus biflorus
Crocus boryi, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus boryi
Crocus cambessedesii, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus cambessedesii
Crocus cancellatus, Mark Mazer [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus cancellatus
Crocus candidus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus candidus
Crocus cartwrightianus, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus cartwrightianus
Crocus caspius by John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus caspius
Crocus chrysanthus 'Ard Schenk', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus
Crocus corsicus closeup, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus corsicus
Crocus cvijicii, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus cvijicii
Crocus cyprius, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus cyprius
Crocus dalmaticus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus dalmaticus
Crocus danfordiae, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus danfordiae
Crocus etruscus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus etruscus
Crocus flavus, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus flavus
Crocus fleischeri, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus fleischeri
Crocus gargaricus and Galanthus, Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus gargaricus
Crocus gilanicus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus gilanicus
Crocus goulimyi, M. Gastil-Buhl [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus goulimyi
Crocus graveolens, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus graveolens
Crocus hadriaticus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus hadriaticus
Crocus hermoneus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus hermoneus
Crocus hyemalis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus hyemalis
Crocus imperati ssp. imperati, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus imperati
Crocus × jessoppiae, Paige Woodward [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus × jessoppiae
Crocus kerndorffiorum, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus kerndorffiorum
Crocus korolkowii, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus korolkowii
Crocus kosaninii, Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus kosaninii
Crocus kotschyanus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus kotschyanus
Crocus laevigatus, Nhu Nguyen [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus laevigatus
Crocus leichtlinii, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus leichtlinii
Crocus longiflorus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus longiflorus
Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus × luteus
Crocus malyi from above, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus malyi
Crocus mathewii, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus mathewii
Crocus medius, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus medius
Crocus michelsonii, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus michelsonii
Crocus minimus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus minimus
Crocus moabiticus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus moabiticus
Crocus nerimaniae, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus nerimaniae
Crocus nevadensis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus nevadensis
Crocus niveus, Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus niveus
Crocus nudiflorus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus nudiflorus
Crocus ochroleucus - back, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus ochroleucus
Crocus olivieri ssp. olivieri, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus olivieri
Crocus oreocreticus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus oreocreticus
Crocus pallasii, Mark McDonough [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus pallasii
Crocus paschei, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus paschei
Crocus pestalozzae, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus pestalozzae
Crocus pulchellus, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus pulchellus
Crocus reticulatus ssp. hittiticus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus reticulatus
Crocus robertianus, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus robertianus
Crocus rujanensis, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus rujanensis
Crocus sativus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus sativus
Crocus serotinus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus serotinus
Crocus sieberi, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus sieberi
Crocus sieheanus, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus sieheanus
Crocus speciosus, Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus speciosus
Crocus thomasii, Angelo Porcelli [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus thomasii
Crocus tommasinianus closeup, Kelly Irvin [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus tommasinianus
Crocus tournefortii, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus tournefortii
Crocus vallicola, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vallicola
Crocus veluchensis, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus veluchensis
Crocus veneris, John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus veneris
Crocus vernus ssp.vernus 2, Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vernus
Crocus versicolor, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus versicolor
Crocus vitellinus, Paige Woodward [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vitellinus
Crocus wattiorum, Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus wattiorum
Crocus yakarianus, Hasan Yildirim [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus yakarianus

Crocus named varieties and hybrids
Crocus chrysanthus 'Advance', Mark McDonough [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Advance'
Crocus speciosus 'Aino', Paige Woodward [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus speciosus 'Aino'
C. cartwrightianus 'Albus', Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus cartwrightianus 'Albus'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Ard Schenk', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Ard Schenk'
Crocus speciosus 'Artabir', Jane McGary [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus speciosus 'Artabir'
Crocus tommasinianus, Barr's Purple, David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus tommasinianus 'Barr's Purple'
Crocus minimus 'Bavella', Rimmer de Vries [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus minimus 'Bavella'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Blue Pearl', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Blue Pearl'
Crocus sieberi 'Bowles White', Tony Goode [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus sieberi 'Bowles White'
Crocus angustifolius, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus angustifolius 'Bronze Form'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty', Janos Agoston [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty'
Crocus vernus ssp. vernus 'Dark Eyes', Arnold Trachtenberg [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
C. vernus ssp. vernus 'Dark Eyes'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Dorothy', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Dorothy'
Crocus banaticus 'First Snow', Rimmer de Vries [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus banaticus 'First Snow'
Crocus vernus 'Flower Record', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vernus 'Flower Record'
Crocus laevigatus 'Fontenayi' in situ, Steve Burger [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus laevigatus 'Fontenayi'
Crocus ancyrensis, David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus ancyrensis 'Golden Bunch'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks', Mark McDonough [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks'
Crocus vernus 'Grand Maitre', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vernus 'Grand Maitre'
Crocus sieberi 'Hubert Edelsten', Tony Goode [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus sieberi 'Hubert Edelsten'
Crocus imperati 'Jager' closeup, Steve Burger [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus imperati 'Jager'
Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc'
Crocus korolkowii 'Lucky Number', John Lonsdale [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus korolkowii 'Lucky Number'
Crocus goulimyi 'Mani White', Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus goulimyi 'Mani White'
Crocus vernus 'Pickwick', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus vernus 'Pickwick'
Crocus serotinus 'Poseidon', Mark McDonough [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus serotinus 'Poseidon'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Prins Claus', Mark McDonough [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Prins Claus'
Crocus kotschyanus 'Reliant', Mark McDonough [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus kotschyanus 'Reliant'
Crocus chrysanthus 'Romance', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Romance'
Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant', Jay Yourch [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'
Crocus sieberi ssp. sublimus 'Tricolor' 27th February 2013, David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus sieberi 'Tricolor'
Crocus tommasinianus Yalta, 8th March 2014, David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus tommasinianus 'Yalta'
Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth', David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus ×luteus 'Yellow Mammoth'
Crocus chrysanthus unknown cultivar, David Pilling [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Crocus chrysanthus 'Zwanenberg Bronze'

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Page last modified on April 08, 2015, at 03:36 PM