Alpine Garden Society

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Colchicum bivonae

Colchicum bivonae Colchicum bivonae is not well known as a cultivated species but has a wide distribution in the mediterranean region from Sardinia, through Greece to Western Turkey.

I first saw it during the MESE Seed collecting expedition to Northern Greece in September 1999. It was growing in a meadow below Mount Olympus in N. E Greece and was really impressive. The meadow had hundreds of plants in many different forms and colours.

Colchicum bivonae This species has a large bowl-shaped flower with heavily tessellated tepals. The tepals can be rounded or pointed and are rosy-purple in colour, and wild forms are illustrated here. Unfortunately, when we saw it, it was in flower not seed! As with most Colchicum it flowers in the autumn and the leaves and seeds are produced the next spring.

It is described in Rod Leeds? new book on Autumn Bulbs (available from the Society at 14.99) and is described as being slow to increase in northern climes, but it is a truly beautiful Colchicum and worth trying in the garden, if you can obtain it.

Peter Sheasby