The jewel like flowers of the Crocus are their great horticultural asset. A long flowering season makes for interest over a long period when a range of species are grown. The flowers vary in size, shape, colour and markings, making for a kaleidoscope of different forms. Considerable variation is seen within some taxa, which can make for confusion, even among the experts.
The flowers are carried on floral tube, which may be very short (Crocus laevigatus) but up to 15cm (Crocus niveus). The tube often lengthens as the flower ages although length is also influenced by cultural conditions.
The exterior may be feathered as in Crocus laevigatus.
This feathering is usually only present on the outside of the three outer petals but occasionally runs through out all the petals as in Crocus kotschyanus cappadocicus.
The petals may be stippled with many tiny dots of colour as in this very attractive form of Crocus caspius.
The 'feathering' sometimes merges to give a large blotch of a different colour on the outer petals. This sometimes completely covers the outer petals resulting in an apparent colour change when the flower opens to reveal its interior.
White forms occur within most species. These may or may not carry the exterior markings that are prevalent in the common forms. Shown here is Crocus sieberi 'Bowles White' a widely available cultivar of Crocus sieberi.