Poisonous beauty with crocus-like flowers
The autumn crocus belongs to the lily family (Liliales), while the crocus belongs to the iridaceae. There is therefore no botanical relationship. The vernacular describes the autumn crocus aptly as the poisonous crocus, as the plant is extremely poisonous. All parts contain the highly toxic alkaloid colchicine, which even in small amounts can cause severe symptoms of poisoning and even death. You can recognize an autumn crocus by these attributes:
- 6 stamens instead of 3 in crocus
- Onion bulbs are more than twice the size of crocus bulbs
When the spring-blooming crocuses take center stage in the garden, the blossoms of the autumn crocus have long since turned into small fruit capsules. There is therefore a risk of confusion primarily with autumn crocuses, such as the magnificent crocus (Crocus speciosus).