Scientific Name:
Colchicum autumnale
Toxic Parts:
colchicine alkaloids
Flower Color:
woodlands, ornamental, gardens, fields

Geographical Distribution

Meadow saffron distribution - United States

Meadow Saffron

Colchicum autumnale

Autumn crocus, Naked ladies, son-before-the-father, Naked boy
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Meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) is a small
herbaceous perennial plant which typically flowers in the autumn after leaves have disappeared. It produces showy pink, purple to white flowers in groups of 1 to 6 from an underground bulb. In the spring, leaves with fruit emerge and remain through July.

Toxic components
All parts of C. autumnale are toxic to poultry, especially the bulb and seeds. The primary toxin is colchicine, a cytotoxic alkaloid that is able to inhibit microtubule formation. The other toxins present, which are closely related to colchicine, include: desacetylmethylcolchicine, desacetylthiocolchicine, colchicoside, demethyl desacetylcolchicine.

C. autumnale is toxic in fresh or dry form. Toxic manifestations appear within 2 to 12 hours following ingestion.