Solve the Autumn Crocus Confusion
Even the universities get mixed up about Autumn Crocus. Is the Autumn Crocus the saffron-producing Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus) or the poisonous Colchicum autumnale? It really matters, because autumn is the season to harvest the saffron of crocus stamens. What's a gardener to do? Safety first: Only harvest stamens from bulbs you planted yourself. Let's put these similar-looking flowering bulbs in a Garden Police Line Up to see if we can ID the poisonous Colchicum: First suspect is Flower Number 1 Now examine Flower Number 2 And our last suspect, Flower Number 3 Did you guess right? The poisoner is Flower Number 2 -- the dangerous Colchicum. Plant it FAR AWAY from any edibles in your garden. It is not even a crocus, but a member of the Lily family. The crocus that will give you saffron for your kitchen? Flower Number 1. This is the Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus), one of many autumn-flowering crocuses. So, what is Flower Number 3? Bet you knew that one -- our familiar friend, the spring-blooming Crocus vernus. Enjoy all these flowers in the garden -- but only eat from ONE of them.