Autumn crocus (Colchicum speciosum) at Kew Gardens
Introducing autumn crocus
Named after Colchis, a mountainous area bordering the Black Sea in Georgia, Colchicum speciosum is also native to Europe, North Africa, Asia, as well as Northern India and Western China.
In mythology they are said to be the first plant species to have grown from drops of the potion brewed by the enchantress Medea, daughter of the the king of Colchis, to restore youth to the ageing Aeson. The plant is the source of the drug colchicine, still used in the treatment for gout.
Colchicum speciosum is part of the Colchicaceae family, an autumn-flowering corm, with pink/purple flowers appearing from August through to October, with the leaves emerging later. They reach 15-20 cm in height.
Common names include meadow saffron and autumn crocus.
Autumn crocus at Kew Gardens
Autumn crocus brings a welcome splash of colour along the Holly Walk at Kew Gardens.
Holly Walk was one of the avenues planted by Sir Joseph Hooker in 1874, and was formerly Love Lane, the dividing line between the two estates, which now make up Kew Gardens.
Sponsor a display of flowering bulbs
These bulb displays are available for sponsorship of £250 each and funds raised will be used for the planting and maintenance of the Gardens.
Your dedication will be recorded on the Commemorative Touchscreen Register in the Secluded Garden glasshouse at Kew Gardens and you will receive a personalised certificate detailing your chosen species.
To sponsor a display:
- choose the plant species that you would like to sponsor at Kew from the list below
- download our Commemorative Giving Donation form, complete and return it
- or call 0208 332 3200 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) to make a donation by card