Alpine Garden Society



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Crocus heuffelianus -plant of the month March 2016

Once described as a member of the Crocus vernus 'species complex' it has now been elevated to specific status (C. heuffelianus. Herb) with its original publication dating back to 1847. Very similar  to C. vernus but easily distinguished by the V-shaped chevron at the tip of the petal (tepal).

Found mainly in the eastern Carpathian mountians ( the images were all taken on Piatra Craiului in the Transylvanian mountains in April 2015, growing with Galanthus nivalis and Helleborous purpurascens) in vernally wet areas usually resulting from snow-melt. Its colour range runs from purest white through to darkest violet-purple, with every shade and hue imaginable in between.

 

In cultivation it does well in any soil that does not dry out completely during the summer months, either in the shade of deciduous trees or in full sun.  When happy it can be expected to seed itself around and, having no morals and in the company of C x cultorum ( Dutch Crocus) may well sire some interesting hybrids.

A superb cultivar to search out is C.h. 'Carpathian Wonder' ( Ian Leslies well grown plant shown below)

Ray Drew
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