Freitag, 2. März 2012

Plant of the Day (March 2nd, 2012 ) - Crocus vernus agg.

After I've shown you Galanthus nivalis in my last Article, it's now time for another plant of the pre-spring. It's Crocus vernus agg. from the Iridaceae family. Typical English names are “Spring Crocus” or “Big Crocus” while in Germany, we call it “Frühlings-Krokus” or “Frühlings-Safran”

C. vernus - a stock

Because there are many breeding and hybrids of this species existing, we used agg., which means aggregate and describes a species with many subspecies.

It's a herb, which can reach a height until 25 centimetres ( 9.75 inches). The narrow and lineal leaves have no petiole and are between 4 and 8 mm wide. A distinctive feature is the white stripe on each leaf.

The inflorescence is a single, terminal flower with a purple perigon, which consists of two circles of tepals with three tepals per circle. The stamens and yellow, while the stylus is red. Flowering time is in spring.

The species is a Geophyte, so it survives the winter in form of an underground bulb.

C. vernus - flower

This plant is native to Southern Europe and wild forms can be found e. g. in the Mediterranean area or the Balkan. However, it has become a very popular ornamental plant for gardens and parks. Hybrids and breeding can be found all over Europe today.

I cannot say, which subspecies is on my pictures. It's possible a crossing between the subspecies Crocus vernus Hill ssp. vernus and Crocus vernus Herb. ssp. tommasinianus because the stylus is much shorter than the stames, which more a typical feature of C. tommasinianus

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