Colchicum byzantinum
Common Name: autumn crocus 
Type: Bulb
Family: Colchicaceae
Native Range: Turkey, Syria, Lebanon
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Pink to lilac
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plant corms 3” deep and 6” apart in August for bloom the same year in fall. If necessary, dig and divide during the mid-summer dormant period.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Colchicum byzantinum is a species of autumn crocus that is generally considered to be native to southeastern Europe, however some authorities believe that it is actually a hybrid of C. cilicicum. In late spring, plants send up somewhat unattractive foliage (5-6 ribbed, elliptic to lance-shaped, dark green leaves to 12” long). Foliage gradually yellows and dies by summer as the plants go dormant. Naked flower stems rise from the ground to 4-6” tall in early fall bearing pink to lilac, funnel-shaped flowers (to 2” long) with dull yellow anthers. A single corm may produce a clump of up to 20 flowers. This species is considered to be synonymous with C. autumnale var. major. It should be noted that spring crocus is in the iris family, but fall crocus is in its own family, Colchicaceae.

Genus name come from the abundance of the plant in Colchis, the Black Sea region of Georgia, Caucasus.

Specific epithet means of classical Byzantium.

Autumn crocus is so named because it blooms in fall.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs and snails. Botrytis is an occasional disease problem. Corm rot is a concern in poorly-drained wet soils. Weak flower stems tend to flop.


Meadows, woodlands, beds. Good for pockets in the landscape where spring and summer plants are fading. Good around patios or along walks. Plant with low ground covers that may help support weak flower stems. Generally inappropriate for prominent parts of beds or borders because of the unsightly appearance of the spring foliage as it yellows and declines on its way toward summer dormancy.