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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Iridaceae
Subfamilia: Crocoideae
Tribus: Croceae
Genus: Crocus
Sectiones: C. sect. Crocus – C. sect. Nudiscapus
Species (250)

a

C. abantensis – C. abracteolus – C. adami – C. adamioides – C. adanensis – C. aerius – C. akdagensis – C. akkayaensis – C. alatavicus – C. albocoronatus – C. aleppicus – C. alexandri – C. almehensis – C. ancyrensis – C. angustifolius – C. antalyensioides – C. antalyensis – C. antherotes – C. archibaldiorum – C. arizelus – C. armeniensis – C. artvinensis – C. asumaniae – C. asymmetricus – C. athous – C. atrospermus – C. atticus – C. autranii – C. autumnalis
b

C. babadagensis – C. balansae – – C. baytopiorum – C. berytius – C. beydaglarensis – C. bifloriformis – C. biflorus – C. boissieri – C. bolensis – C. boryi – C. boulosii – C. bowlesianus – C. brachyfilus – C. brickelliiC. banaticus
c

C. caelestis – C. calanthus – C. cambessedesii – C. cancellatus – C. candidus – C. cappadocicus – C. caricus – C. carpetanus – C. cartwrightianus – C. caspius – C. chrysanthus – C. clusii – C. coloreus – C. concinnus – C. corsicus – C. crewei – C. cvijicii – C. cyprius
d

C. dalmaticus – C. damascenus – C. danfordiae – C. danubensis – C. demirizianus – C. dilekyarensis – C. dispathaceus – C. duncanii – C. duplex
e

C. etruscus
f

C. fauseri – C. fibroannulatus – C. filis-maculatis – C. flavus – C. fleischeri
g

C. gargaricus – C. geghartii – C. gembosii – C. georgei – C. gilanicus – C. goulimyi – C. graveolens – C. gunae – C. guneri
h

C. hadriaticus – C. hakkariensis – C. harpkeae – C. hartmannianus – C. harveyi – C. hatayensis – C. haussknechtii – C. heilbronniorum – C. hellenicus – C. henrikii – C. hermoneus – C. heuffelianus – C. hittiticus – C. hyemalis
i

C. ibrahimii – C. ilgazensis – C. ilvensis – C. imperati – C. incognitus – C. inghamii – C. ionopharynx – C. iranicus – C. isauricus – C. istanbulensis
j

C. jablanicensis
k

C. kangalensis – C. karamanensis – C. karduchorum – C. kartaldagensis – C. katrancensis – C. keltepensis – C. kerndorffiorum – C. kofudagensis – C. korolkowii – C. kosaninii – C. kotschyanus – C. kurdistanicus
l

C. laevigatus – C. lazicus – C. leichtlinii – C. leucostylosus – C. ligusticus – C. longiflorus – C. lyciotauricus – C. lycius – C. lydius
m

C. macedonicus – C. malatyensis – C. malyi – C. marasensis – C. mathewii – C. mawii – C. mazziaricus – C. mediotauricus – C. melantherus – C. mersinensis – C. michelsonii – C. micranthus – C. minimus – C. minutus – C. moabiticus – C. mouradi – C. muglaensis – C. multicostatus – C. munzurensis – C. musagecitii – C. mysius
n

C. naqabensis – C. neapolitanus – C. neglectus – C. nerimaniae – C. nevadensis – C. nivalis – C. niveus – C. novicii – C. nubigena – C. nudiflorus
o

C. ochroleucus – C. olivieri – C. oreocreticus – C. oreogenus – C. orphei
p

C. pallasii – C. pamphylicus – C. paschei – C. pelistericus – C. pelitensis – C. pestalozzae – C. ponticus – C. pseudonubigena – C. pulchellus – C. pulchricolor – C. pumilus – C. punctatus – C. puringii
r

C. randjeloviciorum – C. rechingeri – C. reinhardii – C. reticulatus – C. rhodensis – C. robertianus – C. romuleoides – C. roseoviolaceus – C. rujanensis – C. ruksansii
s

C. sakaltutanensis – C. sakariensis – C. salurdagensis – C. salzmannii – C. sanandajensis – C. sarichinarensis – C. sativus – C. scardicus – C. scharojanii – C. schneideri – C. seisumsiana – C. siculus – C. sieberi – C. sieheanus – C. simavensis – C. sipyleus – C. sivasensis – C. sozenii – C. speciosus – C. stevensii – C. striatulus – C. stridii – C. suaveolens – C. suworowianus
t

C. tahtaliensis – C. taseliensis – C. tauri – C. tauricus – C. terzioghlui – C. thirkeanus – C. thomasii – C. thracicus – C. tommasinianus – C. tournefortii – C. tuna-ekimii – C. turcicus
u

C. uschakensis
v

C. vaclavii – C. vallicola – C. variegatus – C. veluchensis – C. veneris – C. vernus – C. versicolor – C. vitellinus
w

C. wattiorum – C. weldenii
x

C. xantholaimos – C. xanthosus
y

C. yakarianus – C. yalovensis – C. yaseminiae – C. yataganensis – C. youngiorum
z

C. zagrosensis – C. zanjanensis – C. zetterlundii – C. ziyaretensis – C. zubovii
Nothospecies: (5)

C. × asturicus – C. × fritschii – C. × hybridus – C. × leonidii – C. × paulineae
Unplaced names: (1)

C. baalbekensis
Source(s) of checklist:
Name

Crocus L., Sp. Pl. 1: 36. 1753; Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 23. 1754.

Lectotype species: C. sativus L. (designated by Hitchcock in Amer. J. Bot. 10: 513. 1923.)

Synonymy

Heterotypic
Crociris Schur, Verh. Mitth. Siebenbürg. Vereins Naturwiss. Hermannstadt 4: 73. 1853. nom. inval.
Geanthus Raf., Specchio Sci. 1: 116. 1814.
Type species: G. autumnalis Raf.
Safran Medik., Hist. & Commentat. Acad. Elect. Sci. Theod.-Palat. 6: 473. 1790.
Type species: S. officinarum Medik.

Distribution
Native distribution areas:

Europe
Middle Europe
Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland.
Southwestern Europe
Baleares, Corse, France, Portugal, Sardegna, Spain.
Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Romania, Sicilia, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkey, Yugoslavia.
Eastern Europe
Krym, Ukraine.
Africa
Northern Africa
Algeria, Libya, Morocco.
Asia-Temperate
Middle Asia
Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan.
Caucasus
North Caucasus, Transcaucasus.
Western Asia
Afghanistan, Cyprus, East Aegean Islands, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon-Syria, Palestine, Turkey.
China
Xinjiang.
Asia-Tropical
Indian Subcontinent
Pakistan.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
References
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 36. Reference page.
Linnaeus, C. 1754. Genera Plantarum, ed. 5: 23. Reference page.

Additional references

Mathew, B.F. 1982. The Crocus. A revision of the genus Crocus (Iridacae). London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 127 pp. + 96 plates. ISBN 0-7134-3390-6. Reference page.
Rukšāns, J. 2010. Crocuses. A complete guide to the genus. Timber Press, Portland, London, 216 pp. ISBN 978-1-60469-106-1 Reference page.
Rukšāns, J. 2017. The World of Crocuses. 568 pp. The Latvian Academy of Sciences, Riga. ISBN 978-9934-19-125-1. Reference page.

Links

Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Crocus in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 October 19. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Crocus in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jan 17. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Crocus. Published online. Accessed: 27 Jun 2020.
The Plant List 2013. Crocus in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 October 19.
Tropicos.org 2019. Crocus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 October 19.

Vernacular names

العربية: زعفران
azərbaycanca: Zəfəran
български: Минзухар
català: Crocco
čeština: šafrán
dansk: Krokus
Deutsch: Krokusse
Ελληνικά: Κρόκος
English: Crocus
Esperanto: Krokuso
فارسی: زعفران
suomi: Krookukset, Sahramit
Nordfriisk: Krokusen
Frysk: Krookje
Gaeilge: Crócas
עברית: כרכום
hornjoserbsce: Barbička
magyar: Sáfrány
հայերեն: Քրքում
íslenska: Krókus
italiano: Croco
日本語: クロッカス
ქართული: ზაფრანა
қазақша: Запырангүл
kurdî: Pîvok
Lëtzebuergesch: Krokussen
lietuvių: Krokas
македонски: Качунка
norsk bokmål: Krokusslekta
Nederlands: Krokus
norsk nynorsk: Krokus
ирон: Уæдæрттæг
polski: Szafran
پنجابی: زعفران
русский: Шафран
slovenčina: šafran
svenska: Krokussläktet
тоҷикӣ: Бойчечак
Türkçe: Çiğdem
українська: Шафран (рід)
中文: 番紅花屬

Crocus (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn-blooming species. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in North Africa and the Middle East, central and southern Europe, in particular Krokos, Greece,[2] on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.[1][3][4][5]

Etymology

The name of the genus is derived from the Greek κρόκος (krokos).[6] This, in turn, is probably a loan word from a Semitic language, related to Hebrew כרכום karkōm, Aramaic ܟܟܘܪܟܟܡܡܐ kurkama, and Arabic كركم kurkum, which mean "saffron" (Crocus sativus), "saffron yellow" or turmeric (see Curcuma).[7] The word ultimately traces back to the Sanskrit kunkumam (कुङ्कुमं) for "saffron".[8] The English name is a learned 16th-century adoption from the Latin, but Old English already had croh "saffron".[9]
History

Cultivation and harvesting of Crocus sativus for saffron was first documented in the Mediterranean, notably on the island of Crete. Frescos showing them are found at the Knossos site on Crete,[10] as well as from the comparably aged Akrotiri site on Santorini.

The first crocus seen in the Netherlands, where crocus species are not native, were from corms brought back in the 1560s from Constantinople by the Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. A few corms were forwarded to Carolus Clusius at the botanical garden in Leiden. By 1620, the approximate date of Ambrosius Bosschaert's painting (illustration, below), new garden varieties had been developed, such as the cream-colored crocus feathered with bronze at the base of the bouquet, similar to varieties still on the market. Bosschaert, working from a preparatory drawing to paint his composed piece spanning the whole of spring, exaggerated the crocus so that it passes for a tulip, but its narrow, grass-like leaves give it away.

Crocus sativus & C. vernus, illustration by Amédée Masclef, from Atlas des plantes de France, 1891

Saffron gatherers appear in Minoan frescos on the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea.

Composed Bouquet of Spring Flowers, by Ambrosius Bosschaert, circa 1620 (Louvre Museum)

Crocus angustifolius (Cloth of gold) from Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 1803

Description
Capsules (seedpods) with seeds

The cup-shaped, solitary, salverform flower tapers off into a narrow tube. Their colors vary enormously, although lilac, mauve, yellow, and white are predominant. The grass-like, ensiform leaf[11] shows generally a white central stripe along the leaf axis. The leaf margin is entire.

A crocus has three stamens, while a similar-looking toxic plant, Colchicum, sometimes popularly referred to as "autumn crocus", has six stamens. In addition, crocus have one style, while Colchicum have three.[12]
Distribution

Crocuses are distributed across central and southern Europe, North Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia to western China.[1][3][4]
Distribution map of 16 species of genus Crocus in Europe and Asia
Species

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Crocus tommasinianus (Section Crocus, Series Verni)
Crocus vernus subsp. vernus (Section Crocus, Series Verni)
Crocus vernus subsp. albiflorus (Section Crocus, Series Verni)
Crocus ligusticus (Section Crocus, Series Longiflori)
Crocus ochroleucus (Section Crocus, Series Kotschyani)
Crocus sativus (Section Crocus, Series Crocus)
Crocus mathewii (Section Crocus, Series Crocus)
Crocus sieberi subsp. sublimis 'Tricolor' (Section Nudiscapus, Series Reticulati)
Crocus speciosus (Section Nudiscapus, Series Speciosi)

The taxonomic classification proposed by Brian Mathew in 1982 was based mainly on three character states:

the presence or absence of a prophyll (a basal spathe);
the aspect of the style;
the corm tunic.

The seven species discovered since then have been integrated into this classification.[13]

Molecular analysis carried out at the University of Copenhagen suggests this classification should be reviewed. In particular, the DNA data suggest there are no grounds for isolating C. banaticus in its own subgenus Crociris, though it is a unique species in the genus. Because it has a prophyll at the base of the pedicel, it therefore would fall within section Crocus, although its exact relationship to the rest of the subgenus remains unclear.

Another anomalous species, C. baytopiorum, should now be placed in a series of its own, series Baytopi. C. gargaricus subsp. herbertii has been raised to species status, as C. herbertii. Perhaps most surprisingly, autumn-flowering C. longiflorus, the type species of series Longiflori (long regarded by Mathew as "a disparate assemblage"), now seems to lie within series Verni. In addition, the position of C. malyi is currently unclear.

DNA analysis and morphological studies suggest further that series Reticulati, Biflori and Speciosi are "probably inseparable". C. adanensis and C. caspius should probably be removed from Biflori; C. adanensis falls in a clade with C. paschei as a sister group to the species of series Flavi; C. caspius appears to be sister to the species of series Orientales.

The study shows "no support for a system of sections as currently defined", although, despite the many inconsistencies between Mathew's 1982 classification and the current hypothesis, "the main assignment of species to the sections and series of that system is actually supported". The authors state, "further studies are required before any firm decisions about a hierarchical system of classification can be considered" and conclude "future re-classification is likely to involve all infrageneric levels, subgenera, sections and series".[14]

Below is the classification proposed by Brian Mathew in 1982, adapted in accordance with the above findings:

A. Section Crocus : species with a basal prophyll

Series Verni: corms with reticulated fibers, spring-flowering (apart from Crocus longiflorus), flowers for the most part without conspicuous outer striping, bracts absent

Crocus etruscus Parl.
Crocus ilvensis Peruzzi & Carta[15]
Crocus kosaninii Pulevic
Crocus longiflorus Raf. – Italian crocus (formerly in Series Longiflori)[14]
Crocus tommasinianus Herb. – Woodland crocus, Tommasini's crocus
Crocus vernus (L.) Hill – Spring crocus, Dutch crocus
Crocus vernus subsp. albiflorus (Kit. ex Schult.) Asch. & Graebn.
Crocus vernus subsp. vernus

Series Baytopi (new Series): corms with strongly reticulated fibers; leaves numerous, narrowly linear; spring-flowering, bracts absent; anthers extrorsely dehiscent[14]

Crocus baytopiorum Mathew (formerly in Series Verni)[14]

Series Scardici: spring-flowering, leaves have no pale stripe on the upper surface

Crocus pelistericus Pulevic
Crocus scardicus Kos.

Series Versicolores: spring-flowering, corms with tunics, which for the most part have parallel fibers, flowers with conspicuous exterior striping

Crocus cambessedesii J. Gay
Crocus versicolor Ker Gawl. – cloth-of-silver crocus
Crocus corsicus Vanucchi ex Maw
Crocus imperati Ten.
Crocus imperati subsp. imperati
Crocus imperati subsp. suaveolens (Bertol.) B.Mathew
Crocus minimus DC.

Series Longiflori: autumn-flowering, yellow anthers, styles much divided

Crocus goulimyi Turrill (see also Constantine Goulimis)
Crocus ligusticus M.G. Mariotti (Syn. Crocus medius Balb.)
Crocus niveus Bowles
Crocus nudiflorus Smith.
Crocus serotinus Salisb. – late crocus
Crocus serotinus subsp. clusii (J.Gay) B.Mathew
Crocus serotinus subsp. salzmannii (J.Gay) B.Mathew
Crocus serotinus subsp. serotinus

Series Kotschyani: autumn-flowering, anthers white, styles for the most part three-forked

Crocus autranii Albov.
Crocus gilanicus B. Matthew (discovered in 1973 and named after Gilan province in Iran where it was first found)
Crocus karduchorum Kotschy ex Maw
Crocus kotschyanus K. Koch – Kotschy's crocus (syn. C. zonatus)
Crocus kotschyanus subsp. cappadocicus B.Mathew
Crocus kotschyanus subsp. hakkariensis B.Mathew
Crocus kotschyanus subsp. kotschyanus
Crocus kotschyanus subsp. suworowianus (K.Koch) B.Mathew
Crocus ochroleucus Boiss. & Gaill.
Crocus scharojanii Ruprecht
Crocus scharojanii subsp. scharojanii
Crocus scharojanii subsp. lazicus (Boiss.) B.Mathew
Crocus vallicola Herb.

Series Crocus: autumn-flowering, anthers yellow, style distinctly three-branched

Crocus asumaniae B. Mathew & T. Baytop
Crocus cartwrightianus Herb.
Crocus sativus L. – saffron crocus (a sterile triploid mutant or hybrid), presumably derived from Crocus cartwrightianus
Crocus hadriaticus Herb.
Crocus hadriaticus subsp. hadriaticus
Crocus hadriaticus subsp. parnassicus (B.Mathew) B.Mathew
Crocus hadriaticus subsp. parnonicus B.Mathew
Crocus moabiticus Bornm. & Dinsmore ex Bornm.
Crocus mathewii H. Kemdorff & E. Pasche (1994)
Crocus naqabensis Al-Eisawi (2001)
Crocus oreocreticus B.L. Burtt
Crocus pallasii Goldb.
Crocus pallasii subsp. dispathaceus (Bowles) B.Mathew
Crocus pallasii subsp. haussknechtii (Boiss. & Reut. ex Maw) B.Mathew
Crocus pallasii subsp. pallasii
Crocus pallasii subsp. turcicus B.Mathew
Crocus thomasii Ten.

Position unclear[14]

Crocus malyi Vis. (formerly in Series Versicolores)
Crocus banaticus Heuff. (formerly in obsolete Subgenus Crociris)

B. Section Nudiscapus: species without a basal prophyll

Series Reticulati: corm tunic for the most part decidedly covered with reticulated fibers, flower produced in winter or spring, style three-forked or much divided

Crocus abantensis T.Baytop & B.Mathew
Crocus ancyrensis (Herb.) Maw – Ankara crocus
Crocus angustifolius Weston – cloth-of-gold crocus
Crocus cancellatus Herb.
Crocus cancellatus subsp. cancellatus
Crocus cancellatus subsp. damascenus (Herb.) B.Mathew
Crocus cancellatus subsp. lycius B.Mathew
Crocus cancellatus subsp. mazziaricus (Herb.) B.Mathew
Crocus cancellatus subsp. pamphylicus B.Mathew
Crocus cvijicii Kos.
Crocus dalmaticus Vis.
Crocus gargaricus Herb.
Crocus herbertii B. Mathew (became a "true" species)[14]
Crocus hermoneus Kotschy ex Maw
Crocus jablanicensis N. Randj. & V. Randj.
Crocus reticulatus Steven ex Adams
Crocus reticulatus subsp. hittiticus (T.Baytop & B.Mathew) B.Mathew
Crocus reticulatus subsp. reticulatus
Crocus robertianus C.D. Brickell
Crocus rujanensis Randjel. & D.A. Hill (1990)
Crocus sieberi J. Gay – Sieber's crocus, Cretan crocus
Crocus sieberi subsp. atticus (Boiss. & Orph.) B.Mathew
Crocus sieberi subsp. nivalis (Bory & Chaub.) B.Mathew
Crocus sieberi subsp. sieberi
Crocus sieberi subsp. sublimis (Herb.) B.Mathew
Crocus sieheanus Barr ex B.L. Burtt
Crocus veluchensis Herb.

Series Biflori: tunics of corms split into rings at the base, either entire or with toothlike projections, leathery in texture, spring- or late-winter flowering, style three-forked

Crocus aerius Herb.
Crocus almehensis C.D. Brickell & B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus Mill. – silvery crocus, Scotch crocus
Crocus biflorus subsp. biflorus
Crocus biflorus subsp. adamii (J.Gay) K.Richt.
Crocus biflorus subsp. alexandri (Nicic ex Velen.) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. artvinensis (J.Philippow) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. atrospermus Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus biflorus subsp. caelestis Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus biflorus subsp. caricus Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus biflorus subsp. crewei (Hook.f.) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. fibroannulatus Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus biflorus subsp. ionopharynx Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus biflorus subsp. isauricus (Siehe ex Bowles) B.Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. leucostylosus Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus biflorus subsp. melantherus B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. nubigena (Herb.) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. pseudonubigena B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. pulchricolor (Herb.) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. punctatus B.Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. stridii (Papan. & Zacharof) B.Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. tauri (Maw) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. weldenii (Hoppe & Fuernr.) B. Mathew
Crocus biflorus subsp. yataganensis Kernd. & Pasche
Crocus chrysanthus Herb. – Golden crocus, Snow crocus
Crocus chrysanthus subsp. chrysanthus
Crocus chrysanthus subsp. multifolius Papan. & Zacharof
Crocus cyprius Boiss. & Kotschy
Crocus danfordiae Maw
Crocus danfordiae subsp. danfordiae
Crocus danfordiae subsp. kurdistanicus Maroofi & Assadi
Crocus hartmannianus Holmboe
Crocus kerndorffiorum Pasche (1993)
Crocus leichtlinii (Dewar) Bowles
Crocus nerimaniae Yüzbasioglu & Varol (2004)
Crocus pestalozzae Boiss.
Crocus wattiorum (B. Mathew, 1995) B. Mathew (2000)
Crocus demirizianus O.Erol & L.Can (2012)
Crocus yakarianus Yıldırım & O.Erol (2013)

Series Speciosi: corm tunic splits into rings at the base, leathery or membranous, foliage after the flowers, autumn-flowering, style much divided

Crocus pulchellus Herb. – hairy crocus
Crocus speciosus M. Bieb. – Bieberstein's crocus, large purple crocus
Crocus speciosus subsp. ilgazensis B.Mathew
Crocus speciosus subsp. speciosus
Crocus speciosus subsp. xantholaimos B.Mathew

Series Orientales: corm with parallel fibers or lightly reticulated, numerous leaves, spring-flowering, style three-forked

Crocus alatavicus Semenova & Reg.
Crocus caspius Fischer & Meyer (formerly in Series Biflori)
Crocus korolkowii Regel ex Maw – celandine crocus
Crocus michelsonii B. Fedtsch.

Series Flavi: tunics of the corms membranous, split into parallel fibers, spring-flowering, styles much divided

Crocus adanensis T. Baytop & B. Mathew (formerly in Series Biflori)
Crocus antalyensis Mathew
Crocus antalyensis subsp. antalyensis
Crocus antalyensis subsp. striatus O.Erol & M.Koçyiğit (2010)
Crocus antalyensis subsp. gemicii L.Sik & O.Erol (2011)
Crocus candidus E.D. Clarke
Crocus flavus Weston – Yellow crocus
Crocus flavus subsp. flavus
Crocus flavus subsp. dissectus T.Baytop & B.Mathew
Crocus flavus subsp. sarichinarensis Rukšans
Crocus graveolens Boiss. &Reut.
Crocus hyemalis Boiss.
Crocus olivieri Gray
Crocus olivieri subsp. olivieri – Balkan and Turkey
Crocus olivieri subsp. balansae (J.Gay ex Baker) B. Mathew – endemic round İzmir, West-Turkey
Crocus olivieri subsp. istanbulensis B. Mathew, Istanbul, Turkey.
Crocus paschei H. Kerndorff
Crocus vitellinus Wahl.

Series Aleppici: tunics of the corms membranous, with split, parallel fibers, foliage produced at the same time as the flowers, fall- or winter-flowering

Crocus aleppicus Baker
Crocus boulosii Greuter
Crocus veneris Tappein ex Poech

Series Carpetani: undersurface of the leaves rounded with grooves, upper surface channeled, spring-flowering, style whitish, obscurely divided

Crocus carpetanus Boiss. & Reut.
Crocus nevadensis Amo & Campo

Series Intertexti: corm tunic fibrous with fibers interwoven, spring-flowering

Crocus fleischeri J.Gay.

Series Laevigatae: corm tunic membranous or splitting into parallel fibers, sometimes leathery, foliage produced at the same time as flowers, autumn-flowering, anthers white, style much divided

Crocus boryi J.Gay
Crocus laevigatus Bory & Chaub.
Crocus tournefortii J.Gay.


Autumn crocus

Some species, known as "autumn crocus", flower in late summer and autumn, often before their leaves appear. They should not be confused with a different genus of autumn-flowering plants, Colchicum. Autumn-flowering species of crocus include:

C. banaticus (syn. C. iridiflorus)
C. cancellatus
C. goulimyi
C. hadriaticus
C. kotschyanus (syn. C. zonatus)

C. laevigatus
C. ligusticus (syn. C. medius )
C. niveus
C. nudiflorus
C. ochroleucus

C. pulchellus
C. sativus (saffron crocus)
C. serotinus
C. speciosus
C. tournefortii

C. laevigatus has a long flowering period which starts in late autumn or early winter and may continue into February.
Cultivation

About 30 of the species are cultivated, including Crocus sativus for saffron production. The varieties cultivated for decoration mainly represent five species: C. vernus, C. chrysanthus, C. flavus, C. sieberi, and C. tommasinianus. Among the first flowers to bloom in spring, crocuses are popular with gardeners. Their flowering time varies from the late winter C. tommasinianus to the later large hybridized and selected Giant "Dutch crocuses" (C. vernus). Crocus flowers and leaves are protected from frost by a waxy cuticle; in areas where snow and frost occasionally occur in the early spring, it is not uncommon to see early flowering crocuses blooming through a light late snowfall.

field of flowering purple crocuses

Crocus 'E.A. Bowles',
a C. chrysanthus hybrid

Crocus cultivars

C. sieberi corms, showing the net-like papery outer covering

Purple crocuses with closed flowers

Crocuses appearing through the snow

Most crocus species and hybrids should be planted in a sunny position, in gritty (sandy), well-drained soil, although a few prefer shadier sites in moist soil. Some are suitable for naturalising in grass. The corms should be planted about 3 to 4 cm deep; in heavy soils, a quantity of sharp grit should be worked in to improve drainage.

Some crocuses, especially C. tommasinianus and its selected forms and hybrids (such as 'Whitewell Purple' and 'Ruby Giant'), seed prolifically and are ideal for naturalising. They can, however, become weeds in rock gardens, where they will often appear in the middle of choice, mat-forming alpine plants, and can be difficult to remove.
Similar species

Though some true crocuses bloom with the fall (autumnal) rains, after summer's heat and drought, the name autumn crocus is often used as a common name for Colchicum, which is in its own family (Colchicaceae) in the lily order Liliales, and which has six stamens; it is also known as meadow saffron, though unlike true saffron, the plant is toxic.[16]

The prairie crocus or pasque flower (Pulsatilla nuttalliana) belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).
Metaphorical use

The financial community sometimes refers to companies or economic sectors that rise early after an economic downturn as "crocuses" in reference to the flower's ability to thrive in the late winter or early spring.[17]
Culture

Crocus or Krokus (Greek: Κρόκος) was a mortal youth who, because he was unhappy with his love affair with Smilax, was turned by the gods into a plant bearing his name, the crocus.
Usage

The crocus flower was used as one of the elements in the emblem of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland; it was unveiled on 14 December 2018.[18]
References

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
BISHOP, Stephen (2018-04-26). "Krokos Kozanis PDO - European Commission - European Commission". European Commission - European Commission. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Crocus includes photos plus European distribution maps
Innes, Clive (1985). The world of Iridaceae : a comprehensive record. Ashington, Sussex: Holly Gate International. ISBN 0-948236-01-9. LCCN 85216460. OCLC 13396152.
Negbi, Moshe (1999-06-23). Saffron: Crocus sativus L. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-203-30366-5.
κρόκος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
OED; Babiniotis dictionary
Tawney, C. H. (1924). The Ocean of Story, chapter 104. p. 13.
"crocus (n.)". etymonline.com.
C. Michael Hogan, "Knossos fieldnotes", Modern Antiquarian (2007)
Ensiform: Having sharp edges and tapering to a slender point, like a sword blade.
A Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum for Gardeners, p. 154, etc.
Gitte Petersen, Ole Seberg, Sarah Thorsøe, Tina Jørgensen & Brian Mathew: "A phylogeny of the genus Crocus (Iridaceae) based on sequence data from five plastid regions." Taxon, 57(2), 2008, pp. 487–499. JSTOR 25066017.
Brian Mathew, Gitte Petersen & Ole Seberg, A reassessment of Crocus based on molecular analysis, The Plantsman (N.S.) Vol 8, Part 1, pp. 50–57, March 2009
Peruzzi Lorenzo, Carta Angelino. 2011 "Crocus ilvensis sp. nov. (sect. Crocus, Iridaceae), endemic to Elba Island (Tuscan Archipelago, Italy)", Nordic Journal of Botany, 29(1): 6–13. doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.2010.01023.x
"Crocus L." www.gbif.org. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
Example of Metaphorical Use

"Emblem and match schedule for Poland 2019 unveiled". FIFA.com. 14 December 2018. Archived from the original on December 14, 2018.

Bibliography

Bowles, E. A. A Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum for Gardeners, Martin Hopkinson 1924
Mathew, Brian; Christopher Grey-Wilson, Bulbs (ill. Marjorie Blamey), Collins, 1981
Mathew, Brian, Crocus: A Revision of the Genus Crocus, Timber Press, 1983. ISBN 0-917304-23-3
Mathew, Brian, Flowering Bulbs for the Garden, Collingridge/Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 1987. ISBN 0-600-35175-0
Maw, George. A Monograph of the Genus Crocus. London, Dulau and Co., 1886
Randjelovic, Novica; David A. Hill, Vladimir Randjelovic, 'The Genus Crocus L. in Serbia'. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, 1990 (in English)
Rix, Alison. "George Maw, Joseph Hooker and the genus Crocus", Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 25 Issue 2, Pages 176–187, 2008 doi:10.1111/j.1467-8748.2008.00616.x
The Pleasures of Crocus, Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, 1996
Walters, S. M., et al., editor, The European Garden Flora: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass, Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, 1984

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