Odyssey Bulbs PO Box 382
South Lancaster, MA 01561
Fall Crocus
Spring Crocus
Autumn crocus [sic]

Few "bulbs"* are more valuable and less appreciated than these (*their curious, footed storage organs are actually corms). The rather unfortunate common name refers to the general resemblance of some colchicums to an oversized crocus, but in fact the two genera are from different plant families (colchicums from the Liliaceae; croci from the Iridaceae).

Colchicums are best known to gardeners in the form of a handful of large fall-blooming hybrids and species, including 'Waterlily' and C. speciosum. These are indeed showy, durable, unimpeachable ornamentals, bringing a welcome splash of color to the garden at a time when it is all too often lacking. The glorious diversity of the genus encompasses scores of other, lesser-known fall-blooming giants, however, as well as numerous winter-bloomers, spring-bloomers, summer-bloomers, and "dwarfs" (which are naturals for the rock garden). Colchicums are also geographically diverse, spanning a wide range of ecosystems and climatic zones from western Europe to central Asia. A garden that employs their full diversity can boast nearly constant colchicum bloom from midsummer to spring, in habitats ranging from rockery to meadow to perennial border to woodland edge.

As for the charge that colchicum foliage is troublesome, this is a contemptible calumny. We consider the lusty (typically spring-borne) leaves of the large-flowered forms to be highly ornamental, certainly far more so than the foliage of the average tulip or daffodil. Yes, they have the potential to overpower smaller companions, but this possibility can be averted with a little forethought. Indeed, their herbage can be used to the garden's advantage, by pairing them with late-emerging, summer-blooming perennials such as Platycodon grandiflorus, or with late-planted, warm-season annuals.

All in all, this is a genus to be treasured. It is also a genus to be ordered early: we start shipping their corms in August, and if you want to see bloom (rather than stubs of ex-blooms) this fall, you will need to order before then. Plant the large fall-blooming colchicums in moderately fertile, not overly dry soil in sun or light shade. The dwarf and spring-blooming species like full sun and need to stay relatively dry while dormant.

Colchicum × agrippinum ~ Introduced in the nineteenth century, this much-sought-after, sterile garden hybrid owes its strongly purple-checked flowers to the Greek native C. variegatum, but shows considerable cold-hardiness thanks to its other parent (presumably C. autumnale). The funnel-shaped, 2-inch-tall blooms appear in September, with narrow leaves following in late winter. An AGM winner, it multiplies well in fertile, well-drained soil. We have a limited number of corms, which we expect to go quickly. SOLD OUT
Colchicum autumnale ~ Still a classic in itself, no matter how many hybrids and selections it's spawned, this European meadow-dweller can be counted on for a gratifying September display of 2-inch, purple-pink goblets. It's also one of the hardiest of the colchicums. Modified continental/Montane. Zone 4. SOLD OUT
Colchicum autumnale JMH.8001 ~ This Michael Hoog selection goes above and beyond the type both in the size and the abundance of its lilac-pink flowers. Originating more than 30 years ago, it's still as good as any form in cultivation. Modified continental/Montane; . Zone 4. SOLD OUT
Colchicum autumnale 'Album' ~ Perfect dainty white goblets with a touch of pearly suffusion emerge toward the end of the colchicum season, typically flowering in October here. It's a thing apart from all other colchicums, and no fall garden should be without it, in our admittedly biased opinion. Modified continental/Montane. Zone 4. SOLD OUT
Colchicum autumnale 'Nancy Lindsay' (C . pannonicum ) ~ Under whatever name, a dandy plant, with abundant, bright-pink, purple-"stemmed" blooms   somewhat larger than those of straight C. autumnale   in early September, near the beginning of the colchicum season. Thrives in reasonably fertile, not overly dry soil in sun or light shade. Modified continental. Zone 4/5. SOLD OUT
Colchicum bivonae Giona ~ This splendid new introduction of perhaps the showiest colchicum species comes from the slopes of Greece's fifth-highest mountain. The fragrant, lilac-checkered, white-starred goblets appear early in the season. Mediterranean; Greece. Zone 6. SOLD OUT
Colchicum byzantinum ~ Introduced to gardens in the 16th century and still unexcelled in its generosity of flower and increase, this likely hybrid of Colchicum cilicicum throws a dozen or more lilac-pink, white-starred, cup-shaped blooms with 2-inch lobes in early September. Broad, pleated leaves emerge from the large rounded corms in late winter/spring. Mediterranean; Turkey to Syria. Zone 6. SOLD OUT
Colchicum byzantinum f. album ~ For those who want this stalwart species in a more versatile hue, here it is in white (with suggestions of purple). Or you could always surrender to temptation and have both forms. We know we wouldn't want to be without either (although if we could have only one, this would be it). Mediterranean; Turkey to Syria. Zone 6. SOLD OUT
Colchicum davisii PD.26938 ~ Large, funnel-shaped white flowers with soft lilac-pink checkering appear early to midway in the colchicum season. The short-tubed blooms sit closer to the ground than those of many other large-flowered colchicums. This unique and beautiful species is relatively new to gardens and even newer to the botanical literature, having been described in 1998. Mediterranean; S Turkey. Zone 6. SOLD OUT
Colchicum graecum AH.9141 ~ Colchicums in early August? You betcha. Highly desirable both for the coloration and the precocity of its blooms, this selection of one of the loveliest and earliest colchicums produces 2-inch-long chalices of soft lilac-rose in midsummer, a full 2 months before the late hybrids such as 'Waterlily' pop in. Broad, upright leaves appear in spring (in typical colchicine fashion). A 10-week fall colchicum season is utterly attainable. Go for it. Mediterranean; Greece. Zone 6. SOLD OUT
Colchicum hungaricum 'Valentine' ~ As ornamental plants, the winter-blooming colchicums trounce even the snootiest snowdrop, in our highly biased opinion. And how many snowdrops arrive at the Valentine's Banquet dressed in pink? This 'Valentine' rarely makes an eponymous holiday appearance in our district, but if you garden on Cape Cod or Long Island or some similarly tropical strand, prepare to be charmed on February 14 or thereabouts. Like others of the species, 'Valentine' produces multiple weather-resistant blooms over multiple weeks, and thrives in a sunny, well-drained garden niche. Mediterranean/Modified continental/Montane; SE Europe. Zone 5.
Enter quantity:
Colchicum hungaricum 'Velebit Star' ~ Here's another lovely representative of the species, of starrier form and purer white. In this case the eponymous reference is to Croatia's Velebit Mountains, whence this form originated. But it also does Valentine's Day, climate permitting. Val and Vel make a lovely couple, BTW. Mediterranean/Modified continental/Montane; SE Europe. Zone 5. SOLD OUT
Colchicum munzurense ~ Opening their narrow "petals" in late winter and early spring, the dainty, starry, pink-tinged flowers of this recently described species have a merendera look to them. Don't let its delicate appearance fool you, though: it takes quite readily to a sunny, gritty niche in a rock garden or trough. Like all the spring species, it has lance-shaped, scilla-like leaves that are much smaller than those of most fall-blooming colchicums. Steppe; E Turkey. Zone 5.
Enter quantity:
Colchicum 'Jarka' ~ With its distinctive mauve, white centered flowers with pinched, pointed, and slightly twisted outer segments, this appears to be a cousin to the cultivar 'Harlequin'. The flowers are heavier on the mauve and lighter on the twisting than those of 'Harlequin', however, giving it more presence and substance in the garden. It's certainly a valuable and distinctive addition to the colchicum crew, whatever its relationship to others of the genus. Zone 5. SOLD OUT
Colchicum 'Poseidon' ~ It also goes by 'Jaroslavna', but we're staying with Poseidon, whose oceanic associations are most fitting for an unsurpassable hybrid that produces deep-hued, rich-violet flowers over a long season. As also might be expected from the name, 'Poseidon' is of robust constitution (although it also performs well as 'Jaroslavna'). It puts on a splendid show for several weeks in the heart the colchicum season (through much of September here). Zone 5. SOLD OUT
Colchicum 'Rosy Dawn' ~ Huge lilac-pink goblets of good substance and almost geometric precision open wide to reveal generous white eyes with yellow-stained centers. It's one of the largest hybrids in all its parts, and also one of the best. Mideason. Zone 5. SOLD OUT
Colchicum 'Spartacus' ~ This floriferous, recently selected hybrid of C. autumnale and (presumably) C. bivonae bears numerous white-eyed, purple-pink goblets on stout, compact, greenish-white floral tubes. Excellent. Modified continental/Mediterranean/Montane; . Zone 5. SOLD OUT
Colchicum 'Zephyr' ~ Large, bright, lilac goblets have white stripes that radiate along their "petal" midribs, forming a star. This beautiful and obscure hybrid is a favorite of ours. Zone 5. SOLD OUT

PO Box 382
South Lancaster, MA  01561