Meadow Saffron, Autumn Crocus, Mysteria
My Best Days Are Pat Me
Facts & Folkore:
The flowers of this plant appear before the leaves giving them an odd appearance where clustered! Although they have a similar appearance and common name, this plant is not in the same family as the real Crocus (Crocus sativus) but in the Lily family. It takes its scientific name comes from the Colchis, a region in Georgia (Caucasus) known to the Ancient Greeks and mentioned in their mythology. Here it is said, lived the enchantress Medea, who helped Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to obtain the Golden Fleece from her father, King Aeëtes of Colchis. In some tales, Medea uses her magical powers to restore youth to her favorites and poison her enemies with the roots of colchicum. The leaves, corm, and seeds of this plant are indeed poisonous through the toxic alkaloid, colchicine, a favorite of Victorian poisoners, though in small amounts it was often used as a treatment for gout. In fact, Benjamin Franklin (a gout sufferer) was believed to have imported this plant to America.
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