Colchicum macrophyllum seeds - rare meadow saffron species

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Colchicum macrophyllum seeds  -  meadow saffron

Colchium macrophyllum belongs to the family of the Colchicaceae, the meadow saffrons. The plant is native to Greece including Crete and the south- west part of Turkey. There it grows on relatively meager soils. It grows up to 750 m above sea level. C. macrophyllum was already discovered in 1951 but one first thought that it is Colchium variegarum. It took some time until one knew that it is the new species C. macrophyllum.
C. macrophyllum grows as an herbaceous plant and reaches a height of just 5 to 10 cm. The leaves are simple and grow next to the ground. They are lanceolate and get up to 30 cm long and 15,5 cm wide. The leaves are very glossy. C. macrophyllum has the biggest leaves of all species in the family of the Colchicaceae. Due to that fact it has its scientific name macrophyllum meaning “big leaves”. The venation is parallel. The leaves die when the plant starts to bloom. During the blooming period only the flowers are visible. C. macrophyllum blooms in fall.
The flowers are big. The petals can get up to 7 cm long. They are violet to purple and have a tessellated pattern. The pollen of C. macrophylla is green.
The fruit is a capsule that gets up to 5 cm long. In it there are many seeds.
The root is a tuber. With the help of the tuber the plant can survive the cold seasons under the soil.
C. macrophyllum is poisonous in all parts!

The seeds of C. macrophyllum germinate best if one stratifies them warm. Therefore they should be stored for at least 4 weeks at a temperature of 20°C and another 4 weeks at 0-4°C . After that they can be planted into the substrate. The planted seeds should stand at a sunny place. At a temperature of about 15°C germination occurs quite fast.

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