Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Crocus, a familiar genus of plants belonging to the Iris family, the numerous species and varieties of which are mostly natives of Southern Europe and Asia Minor. Two species, the autumn flowering C. nudiflorus and the spring flowering C. vernus, are naturalised in some parts of England. Crocuses have fleshy corms with buds on their summits; grassy leaves, enlarging after the flowering; a subterranean inferior three-chambered ovary; a long perianth tube surmounted by a funnel-shaped perianth of six nearly equal segments; three included epipetalous stamens; and a style dividing above into three dilated stigmatic lobes. The deep orange-coloured stigmas of C. sativus constitute saffron (q.v.). Though some flower in autumn, crocuses are specially valued in gardens as among the brightest and earliest of spring flowers. The so-called autumn crocus or meadow saffron is an entirely different plant with six stamens and a superior ovary.