Decorative species and varieties of crocuses

HomeCrocusDecorative species and varieties of crocuses

The genus of crocuses or saffrons is quite numerous, includes about 80 species, about half of them are used in decorative floriculture. In the gardens, both natural forms and varieties and hybrids created by breeders are grown. The classification of natural species is quite complex, and has changed several times in the last 200 years. It is currently accepted to divide the genus into two subgenera, Crocus and Crociris, based on the structure of the bulb and the presence or absence of an involucre at the base of the flower arrow.

Subgenus Crociris includes a single species, Banat crocus (C. banaticus) , 10-14 cm tall, with funnel-shaped perianths, the color of which varies from light purple to dark purple. This flower that blooms in September grows wild in Romania, is considered rare, but the easiest to cultivate, has an unusual shape resembling irises. Its internal rounded segments are half as long as the pointed external ones, yellow anthers contrast effectively with dissected pale purple stigmas.

The subgenus Crocus includes all other species, which are conditionally divided into 15 groups or series, differing in the structure of the corm shells. Not all of them are of interest for ornamental floriculture , some consist of one or 2-3 rather rare wild varieties not used in culture.

In the gardens, mainly plants belonging to the following groups are grown:

crocus (crocus) (k. sowing and Pallas);

kochi (kotchschyani) (K. Sharoyan and valley);

return (verni) (K. Spring and Tomasini);

biflori (biflori) (k. golden and two-flowered);

speciosi (speciosi) (beautiful);

flavi (flavi) (k.yellow);

reticulati (K. Sieber);

orientales (orientales) (k. Korolkova).

By the time of flowering, spring and autumn crocuses are distinguished, and since usually yellow and blue petals are not found simultaneously inside natural species, they are divided into yellow-flowered and blue-flowered by color. The exception is the golden crocus, perhaps in this case the blue-flowered forms are of hybrid origin. White specimens are less common in nature, more common in blue-flowered species.

Crocus flower in the photo

Varieties of crocuses are very numerous, currently there are about 300 of them registered in the world. Below are descriptions and photos of the types of crocuses most often used in cultivation, as well as the most popular varieties and hybrids recommended for cultivation in our country.

Crocus blue, blue and white may bloom in autumn

Flower crocus blue in the photo

They bloom in September-October, are less common in our gardens than spring ones, meanwhile they are less demanding on lighting, resistant to diseases and very decorative. In central Russia, it is recommended to grow:

Crocus beautiful (C. speciosus) , the most popular and most large-flowered species, with blue-violet, decorated with darker or purple veins, fragrant flowers up to 12 cm in diameter. They bloom in September on leafless peduncles reaching 12-18 cm, and bloom within a month. Leaves, 20-30 cm long, 0.6-1.3 cm wide, emerge from the ground in spring and die off by early July. In nature, the plant is found in the Balkans, in Asia Minor, as well as in the Crimea and the Caucasus.

There are many garden forms of various colors, among which are:

blue crocus Cassiope

lilac Artabir

white Albus

light purple Pallux.

Crocus sowing (C. sativus) , cultivated in the world on an industrial scale, it is its flowers that are used as a spice “saffron”. A plant 10-30 cm tall with narrow, only a few millimeters wide, erect leaves covered with cilia and curved at the ends. Light purple or white flowers bloom on short flower arrows, have a 6-petal corolla and a tube 10-15 mm long, have a pleasant violet smell. Unlike the previous species, the leaves appear together with flowers or immediately after them, mass flowering lasts one to two weeks, and each individual flower lives for about three days. India is considered the birthplace of the species, however, the currently grown plant is a hybrid, the result of a natural crossing of several ancient varieties of culture.

Crocus Pallas (C. pallasii) , less common in gardens, undersized, not higher than 5-6 cm, with single pale purple flowers with a pink tint, having a purple base, the same color of the veins and strongly recurved edges of the perianth. Corolla diameter up to 4.5 cm. It blooms in September and blooms for 30 days, narrow-linear leaves about 20 cm long appear in April. It grows wild in Asia Minor, in the Balkans, on the territory of the former USSR – in the Crimea.

Even less often in the gardens you can find a bright orange Sharoyan crocus (C. scharojanii) blooming at the end of summer, a Caucasian species with bare leaves up to 20 cm long, up to 1.3 cm wide, sometimes remaining until the next flowering.

And white crocus valley (C. vallicola) , blooming in August or early September. In the latter, the leaves appear in early April, and dry up completely in early June.

Crocus yellow and red blooms more often in spring

They bloom in spring, from early April to May, and in countries with a warmer climate at the end of winter (February).

There are two groups:

botanical crocuses (C. botanical) , including small-flowered natural forms and varieties.

and large-flowered (C. largeflowering) , Dutch hybrids obtained on the basis of spring crocus.

Of the botanical species in the gardens of the middle lane, they grow:

Crocus golden (C. chrysanthus) , up to 20 cm high, with narrow leaves that appear together with flowers that bloom in April and bloom for about 15-20 days. The natural appearance is golden yellow, with shiny outside and curved perianth lobes, often in the outer part of the base having darker stripes and strokes. There are many diversely colored varieties, including hybrids obtained with the participation of other species, in particular, two-flowered crocus.

Hybrids of the Chrysanthus group, unlike the Dutch ones, are smaller in size, bloom earlier, and are multi-flowered – several buds appear simultaneously from one bulb.

Popular varieties:

blue pearl

Princess Beatrix, blue with yellow base

white white victorious

cream beauty cream

light yellow mammut

purple with a golden throat Violet Queen.

There are a number of forms that have petals of a contrasting color, with stripes and various strokes:

Nanette, with large cream flowers adorned with purple markings on the outside.

Lady Killer, snow white inside, lilac purple outside with light touches, etc.

Below are a few more photos of crocus varieties from the Chrysanthus group:

Crocus Ruby Giant in the photo

Crocus Zwanenburg Bronze in the photo

Crocus Prins Claus in the photo

Crocus Princess Beatrix in the photo

Two-flowered or Scottish crocus (C. biflorus) , grows naturally in the south and south-west of Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus. The natural species has red or purple petals and yellow stigmas, unusual for crocuses.

There are variegated varieties:

Alexander I, very decorative, dark purple on the outside with a narrow white edging, snow-white on the inside.

Parkinsonia, with straw-yellow outer petals, white inner petals with small blue blotches, snow-white inside with an orange center.

There are monochromatic cultivars, for example:

pure white Albus

bluish hue Fairy.

Crocus yellow (C. flavus Weston) , a plant native to the mountainous regions of the Balkans and Asia Minor, grows up to 20 cm, has linear, ciliated leaves about 10 cm long and short (5-8 cm) peduncles with large golden-orange flowers . The diameter of the perianth reaches 7 cm, and the length of the tube is 8 cm. It blooms for 20 days in early spring (April).

The well-known variety Largest Yellow is distinguished by even larger than the natural species, flat dark yellow cup-shaped flowers, decorated with dark stripes on the outside.

Crocus Tomasini

Crocus Tomasini or Neapolitan (C. tomasinianus) – one of the most unpretentious spring primroses, found wild in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Hungary. It adapts well to any conditions, can grow in relatively shady places without much care. Blooms in early April, natural forms have perianths of pink-lilac tones, 3-5 cm in diameter, with a whitish core.

In decorative floriculture, varieties are common:

Ruby Giant, deep purple-red crocus with large flowers.

Lilac Lilac Beauty

Whitewell Purple, deep magenta with a mauve heart.

Crocus Zibera

Crocus Zibera (C. sieberi) , quite rare for our gardens and at the same time one of the most beautiful ornamental species. The plant comes from the mountainous regions of Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, 8-10 cm high, has an original tricolor color. In natural specimens, the petals can range from light pink to deep purple, the center is usually yellow with bright orange pistils.

Garden forms are especially attractive:

Bovlesis White, a pure white variety with a bright orange throat;

Atticus, a bright blue crocus with a yellow-orange center;

A tricolor, cultivar with dark purple petals above, lighter below, and a bright yellow throat.

Crocus Korolkova

Crocus Korolkova (C. korolkovii Maw ex Regel) , low, up to 6 cm, Central Asian species with bright orange flowers, covered with red stripes on the outside, there are varieties of Russian selection, in particular, Kiss of Spring, Glory to Samarkand, Tiger.

Spring crocus (C. vernus) , the most common spring-flowering species in culture, naturally growing in alpine meadows in the Pyrenees and the Alps. In nature, it has solitary lilac or purple flowers up to 5 cm in diameter. This variety has served as material for the creation of numerous hybrid varieties widely grown around the world, which are usually classified as a separate group of large-flowered crocuses or Dutch hybrids.

Crocus Vanguard (Vanguard) and Flower Record (Flower Record)

Varieties belonging to the group of large-flowered Dutch hybrids are unpretentious, they are distinguished by especially large flower sizes, on average 2 times larger than natural species, and their goblet shape. Plant height reaches 15 cm, thin long leaves appear after flowers, bulbs are covered with brown fibrous skin.

The first cultivar was created in 1897, since then constant work has been carried out to create new hybrids, with the participation of both spring and yellow crocus. More than 50 varieties are known with flowers of various sizes and colors, both plain and variegated. Among them are white, yellow, lilac, blue, purple, purple-red crocuses.

Photos and descriptions of some of the most common varieties in our country are presented below:

Joan of Arc (Joan Of Arc) , white, with large (up to 5 cm) flowers growing in 3-5 pieces. from one bulb.

Yellow Mammoth (Yellow Mammoth) , yellow-flowered, 10-15 cm high;

Vangart (Vanguard) , crocus of a light bluish-lilac color, 10-15 cm high, up to 4.5 cm in diameter.

Nigro Boy (Negro Boy) , a hybrid with goblet perianths 4-5 cm in size, deep lilac-lilac shade with a dark purple base.

Flower Record (Flower Record) , lilac-purple crocus, great for forcing.

Remembrance , with deep purple flowers, goblet-shaped, pointing upwards.

All Dutch varieties bloom for a long time, up to 20 days, while they differ significantly in terms of the start of flowering.

The earliest, for example:

crocus vangart, bloom in April;

late (Nigro Boy) – at the end of May, which allows you to have flowering specimens in the garden from early spring to early summer.

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