Crocusare the temperate world’s favourite early spring bulb. They are beautiful and long-lived but also tough as nails with an amazing ability to shrug off the vagaries of early spring weather. They often come up through the snow or cheerfully commence their bloom only to be hit by an Arctic blast. Yet, these are not shrinking violets. They just bide their time, wait for the cold to be over, and then get right on with blooming!
Crocusis an old world genus occurring from central and southern Europe and North Africa through the Middle East all the way to western China. It includes about 90 species which can occur from sea level up to alpine habitats.
Crocuscan be spring or fall blooming. Most of the species we carry are spring blooming and offer many beautiful forms in a variety of cheerful colours and bicolours to grace the spring garden.
The one exception we carry is the autumn flowering Crocus sativuswhich usually blooms in September. It is widely celebrated as the source of saffron, a natural food flavouring and colourant used in the cuisines of Europe, the Middle East, and India, especially in rice dishes like paella, risotto, bouillabaisse, and biryani. It is the stigmas of the saffron crocus that are harvested. They are considered to be the most expensive spice by weight as it takes the stigmas of between 50,000-75,000 crocus bulbs to produce one pound of saffron!
At Phoenix Perennials, we carry a number of rare species and cultivars. Here are our offerings for fall 2019:
Crocus ‘King of the Striped’ has purple bases opening into large white petals variably veined with purple.
Crocus ancyrensis ‘Golden Bunch’ is among the earliest to bloom in the late winter garden with an abundance of orange-yellow flowers.
Crocus biflorusssp. weldenii’Fairy’ is a beautiful cultivar with ivory white inner petals and pewter purple outer ones.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Advance’ has lovely lemon yellow flowers with a purple flush on the outside.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Herald’ has lovely yellow to deep yellow petals with deep purple reverses..
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ is a snow crocus with large, white, cup shaped flowers with a purple flash on the exterior and rich, egg yolk coloured anthers.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Romance’ sports two colours of yellow: light, creamy yellow and rich, deep buttery yellow.
Crocus fleischeriis a rare and distinctive species with narrow, pure white petals and bright orange-red, branched pistils.
Crocus heuffelianusis a beautiful crocus with large, lavender-purple flowers with dark purple chevrons at the petal tips.
Crocus imperati ‘De Jager’ is a gorgeous yellow and lavender bicolour Crocus accented with the deep purple lines.
Crocus korolkowii has orange-yellow flowers with burgundy black bases and the outer petals flecked with burgundy.
Crocus minimusis a species of Corsica and Sardinia with lavender flowers with the petal reverses feathered with royal purple.
Crocus sativusis the purple, October blooming crocus grown to produce saffron, a luxury spice cultivated since the late Bronze Age.
Crocus sieberi ‘Firefly’ has striking bicolour buds of orange-yellow and lavender opening to reveal lavender and white petals.
Crocus sieberissp. sublimis ‘Tricolor’ is a spring crocus with vivid purple, yellow and white flowers.
Crocus tommasinianus ‘Albus’ is a rare and lovely form with pure white petals.
Crocus tommasinianus ‘Lilac Beauty’ is a selected form with glowing icy lavender petals that are lighter at the base, darkening towards the tips.
Crocus tommasinianus ‘Roseus’ is a sought-after cultivar with bicolour flowers in deep pink and white.
Crocus versicolor ‘Picturatus’ is a delicately beautiful selection with pure white petals with the reverses feathered with dark purple veining.