Colchicum L.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Europe to W. Himalaya, Macaronesia, Medit. to S. Africa, Arabian Peninsula.


Colchicaceae, Kim Hoenselaar. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2005

Morphology General Habit
Plants relatively small, with a tunicated, bulb-like corm
Morphology Stem
Stem erect, almost absent, simple; lowermost leaf a membranous, sheathing, tubular cataphyll, not protracted into a leaf-blade, followed by a few leaves, which are basally sheathing
Morphology Leaves
Leaves narrowly elliptic to linear
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a bracteate umbel; pedicel short, erect
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers small and inconspicuous, overtopped by large petal-like bracts; perianth segments free, with narrow connivent claws and spreading narrow blades, concave and nectariferous at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted at the base of the perianth segments; filaments filiform, thickened towards the base; anthers narrowly oblong, dorsifixed, slightly versatile, dehiscing latrorsely to introrsely by longitudinal slits
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Ovary ellipsoid-ovoid; styles 3, erect, free, filiform, stigmatose at the apex, persistent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule ellipsoid, septicidal, coriaceous; seeds subglobose.

Native to:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Austria, Baleares, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Corse, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, East Aegean Is., Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Free State, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kirgizstan, Kriti, Krym, KwaZulu-Natal, Lebanon-Syria, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, North Caucasus, Northern Provinces, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Saudi Arabia, Sicilia, Sinai, Somalia, South European Russi, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, Western Sahara, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Introduced into:

Baltic States, Denmark, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Zealand South, North Carolina, Northwest European R, Oregon, Sweden, Utah, Vermont

Colchicum L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Davis, P.H., Turkey 31280.000 No

First published in Sp. Pl.: 341 (1753)

Accepted by

  • (2007). epublication.
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Persson, K. (2007). Nomenclatural synopsis of the genus Colchicum (Colchicaceae), with some new species and combinations Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik 127: 165-242.
  • del Hoyo, A. & Pedrola-Monfort, J. (2008). Phylogeny of Androcymbium (Colchicaceae) based on morphology and DNA sequences Plant Systematics and Evolution 273: 151-167.

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images