ORNAMENTAL PLANTS OF HORTICULTURE VALUE
Selection of perennials
|Colchicaceae, formerly in Liliaceae
About 60-70 species in Eurasia, 11 are the FSU. One species,
C. speciosum Steven, is known in cultivation. There are
also some other species, rare or unknown in gardens which deserve
C. kesselringii Regel (C. regelii Stef.).
Central Asia (Pamiro Alay, Tien Shan, Syr-Darya River basin,
Chirchik valley). In mountains in alpine and subalpine zones,
on submontane plains, in meadows and in the foothills among shrubs.
Tuberous corm elongated, 1-3 cm long, covered by a dark
leather-like scale. Leaves linear, 2-7, appearing with flowers.
Flowers 1-4, white, tube with violet-purple dorsal stripe, 2-3 cm
long, stands 5-7 cm above ground. V - early spring to late spring.
Flowers appear just after the snow melts. Fl - February in the wild
(March, April in St. Petersburg). Fr - May. Foliage dies off in
late spring after fruiting. P - by seed or by dividing older clumps
in summer. Good for the rock garden. Z 4. New.
C. laetum Steven
Russia (Volga River basin), Caucasus (northern regions, and
Dagestan). In meadows, steppes, in the foothills and submontaine
Corm conical, about 3 cm diam., covered by black-brown scales.
Flowering plants about 10 cm. Leaves linear, 3-4, appearing in
spring. Flowers 1-4, fairly large, 4-5 cm, pale violet, lilac or
pink. V - in two periods, early spring when fruiting, and later
when flowering and developing leaves. Fl - late summer or autumn,
for 2-3 weeks. Propagation by seed or division. Can grow in a rather
severe climate, for example, does well in St. Petersburg in sunny and
dry places. Well suited for the rock garden. Z 4. New.
C. speciosum Steven
Caucasus (Transcaucasus, and the northwestern slopes of the Great
Caucasus Range), Turkey and northern Iran. Subalpine meadows, wood
margins, 1,800- 3,000 m.
Tuberous-cormous plant, 20-50 cm. Corm conical, up to 6-7 cm
long, with dark cinnamon-brown coats. Leaves 4-6, 20-40 cm long,
broad- elliptical. Flowers 1-4, very large, pinkish-purple to violet,
with white throat 5-7 cm long. Anthers orange-yellow. V - early
spring, when leaves appear and fruits ripen. Fl - early autumn, after
a dormant period. P - by seed, which should be sown as soon as
possible after ripening or by division of old clumps. Z 4.
C. szovitsii Fisch. et C. A. Mey.
Caucasus (southeastern Transcaucasus) and northern Iran. Alpine
and subalpine meadows.
Bulb-like corm 3 cm long, 1.5-2.0 cm diam. Flowering plants about
20 cm. Leaves broadly linear, or linear-lanceolate, 20 cm x 3-4 cm.
Flowers 1-4, 5 cm diam., pale pink. V - early spring till beginning
of summer, leaves and flowers appear at the same time, in spring.
F - early spring (in St. Petersburg early April for three weeks).
Fr - early June then foliage dies off. P - by seed or by division of
old clumps. Z 5 (4). New.
C. umbrosum Steven
Crimea, the Caucasus (northern and western regions and Dagestan)
and Turkey. Foothills and mountains, in the subalpine zones, in
forests and shady places.
Bulb-like tuber 3 cm long, 2 cm diam., subglobose, covered by a
blackish membraneous scale. Flowering plants 15-20 cm, fruiting 30
cm. Leaves 3-5, linear, 12-15 cm long. Flowers 1-3, lilac or light
purple, 4-5 cm diam., 8-10 cm high. V (foliage) - spring (April) to
June. Fl - early autumn (August, September) for 3-4 weeks. Fr -
early spring (May, St. Petersburg). P - by seed or division.
Requires a shaded position and good drainage. Z 4. New.
The following Caucasian species are also of garden interest
C. falcifolium Stapf (=C. serpentinum Woronow
Western Transcaucasus. Slopes.
Flowers pink, 2.0-2.5 cm. Fl. - early spring. Fr. - late autumn.