Colchicum autumnale Linnaeus, 1753
Common names: Autumn crocus, Meadow saffron, Naked lady [En], Colchique d'automne, Safran bâtard [Fr], Herfsttijloos [Nl], Herbst-Zeitlose [De], Colchico d'autunno [It], Cólquico, Azafrán [Es], Κολχικό το φθινοπωρινό, Φθινοπωρινός κρόκος [Gr], Sonbahar çiğdemi, Acı çiğdem [Tu]
Coudons, AUDE ● France
Description: Herbaceous perennial 10 to 40 cm high, with basal, slender lanceolate leaves; flowers chalice-shaped, long- tubular, 6-parted, purple-pink to white. The plant grows from a ovoid corm which remains dormant in the soil for much of the year.
Biology: It flowers in autumn. The name “naked lady” comes from the fact that the flowers emerge from the ground long after the leaves have died back.
Habitat: wet meadows, woodland clearings and shady rocky habitats on non calcareous substrates. Up to 2000 m.
Distribution: The species is commonly cultivated in temperate areas.
Caution: All parts of the plant contain toxins. Colchicine, the major toxin, is an
alkaloid. Colchicine exerts multi-organ toxicity. The main toxic effects are related to the effects of colchicine on mitosis and account for diarrhoea, bone marrow depression, cardiotoxicity, central nervous system disturbances and alopecia. Other acute effects are hypovolemia, shock and coagulation disturbances, which may lead to death.
Livestock loss due to C. autumnale has been reported in Europe. In oxen, ingestion of 8 to 10 g/kg fresh leaves or 2-3 g/kg dried leaves (in hay) was lethal (Kingsbury, 1964).
Wikipedia, Colchicum autumnale
International Programme on Chemical Safety