OR WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The classification of the genus Crocus has been revised several times over the last two hundred years. The division of the many taxa has challenged botanists and taxonomists owing to the range of characteristics that are available for scrutiny.
The classification of the genus has been based on a number of different characteristics over the last 200 years. An early version (A. Haworth 1809) used the presence or absence of hairs in the throat of the flower to group the species. This feature is now known to vary within species making the early classification unreliable. The next major revision (J. Sabine 1829) revolved around the absence or presence of a prophyll (basal spathe) and corm tunic characteristics. By 1886 this classification had been developed significantly (W. Herbert 1847 and G. Maw 1886) allowing new species to be fitted in. The classification today is a further development of that produced by Maw. Brian Mathew has retained the division into two sections based on the presence or absence of the prophyll and using the nature of the style and corm tunic features to describe the different series.
I am grateful to Brian Mathew for providing this copy of the classification as published in his monograph on the genus.
A classification of the genus Crocus
1. Subgenus Crocus
A. Section Crocus
Series Verni (vernus, tommasinianus, kosaninii, etruscus, baytopiorum)
Series Scardici (scardicus, pelistericus)
Series Versicolores (versicolor, imperati, malyi, corsicus, minimus, cambessedesii)
Series Longiflori (longiflorus, serotinus, medius, niveus, goulimyi)
Series Kotschyani (kotschyanus, vallicola, gilanicus, autranii, scharojanii, ochroleucus,
Series Crocus - (cartwrightianus, pallasii, thomasii, oreocreticus, asumaniae, moabiticus,
B. Section Nudiscapus
Series Reticulati (reticulatus, sieberi, dalmaticus, robertianus, abantensis, ancyrensis,
cvijicii, gargaricus, angustifolius, sieheanus, rujanensis, cancellatus,hermoneus)
Series Biflori (biflorus, chrysanthus, danfordiae, almehensis, cyprius, hartmannianus,
aerius, pestalozzae, caspius, kerndorffiorum, paschei, wattiorum,
Series Orientales (alatavicus, korolkowii, michelsonii)
Series Flavi (flavus, olivieri, antalyensis, candidus, vitellinus, graveolens, hyemalis)
Series Aleppici (aleppicus, veneris, boulosii)
Series Carpetani (carpetanus, nevadensis)
Series Intertexti (fleischeri)
Series Speciosi (speciosus, pulchellus)
Series Laevigatae (laevigatus, tournefortii, boryi)
2. Subgenus Crociris (banaticus)