Alpine Garden Society



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Crocus pulchellus - plant of the month sept 2016

Crocus pulchellus is an extremely accomodating plant, growing well (too well for some) in both full sun or semi-shade and is a good species for naturalising in grass. The word 'pulchellus' means beautiful and small - beautiful, certainly but no where near the smallest autumn crocus. Distributed throughout northwestern Asiatic Turkey and flowering from September through November, this charming crocus can soon form discrete colonies in clumps around the garden but  both its ease from seed and offsetting of tiny rice-grain cormlets mean it can become a nuisance for those who like order and decorm; best not grown in a bulb frame where wayward seedlings can appear at an alarming rate.

 

Crocus pulchellus  can be easily mistaken for C. kotschyanus ssp kotschyanus when seen in flower; both have white pollen, yellow to orange branched filaments and similarly marked  floral segments. One needs to get up fairly close to see the zone in the centre of the flower - in C. pulchellus, the yellow is formed by solid bands of colour at the base of each petal (right) and in C. kotschyanus by two yellow blotches, usually coalescing to form a 'V' shaped marking, shown here on the left. Under ground, things are a little easier - C. pulchellus has obvious rings around the base of the corm whereas C.kotschyanus does not

Ray Drew
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