Fun Facts

Autumn Crocus isn't a true crocus, members of the Iridaceae (Iris) family where as the Autumn Crocus is a member of the Liliaceae (Lily) family that includes Cala Lilies

It is thought that Colchicum plants were brought to American by Benjamin Franklin because he suffered from gout. He supposedly wrote many short poems or stories about the flower during his trips to France.

In certain cases people who have eaten Autumn Crocus have died within three days of ingestion, even after being admitted to the hospital.

This poisonous flower blooms in the fall after its leaves have died.

0.6% of the colchicine is located in the corm and 1% is located in the seeds. Even if the plant is dried out it is still just as deadly.

The seeds and corm have 15x more colchicine as the leaves.

The Autumn Crocus is just one of 70 species in the genus Colchicum.

A 43 year old woman was admitted to the hospital after accidentally eating Colchicum autumnale instead of wild garlic. Many different tests were run and after 17 days of care in the hospital she was released. 12 weeks later she still had symptoms of muscle weakness and 3 years after she reported four different times of hair loss and chronic muscle weakness as well.

Colchicine has been use in attempts to commit homicide and suicide.


Despite its toxic properties colchicine is in many drugs for gout and is even being used in attempts to cure cancer.


There have been poems written about Autumn Crocus including this one:

Autumn Crocuses
The meadow is poisonous but pretty in the autumn
The cows that graze there are slowly poisoned
Meadow-saffron the colour of lilac and of shadows
Under the eyes grows there your eyes are like those flowers
Mauve as their shadows and mauve as this autumn
And for your eyes' sake my life is slowly poisoned

Children from school come with their commotion
Dressed in smocks and playing the mouth-organ
Picking autumn crocuses which are like their mothers
Daughters of their daughters and the colour of your eyelids
Which flutter like flowers in the mad breeze blown

The cowherd sings softly to himself all alone
While slow moving lowing the cows leave behind them
Forever this great meadow ill flowered by autumn 

Guillaume Apollinaire

Another toxic organsism is the Devil Firefish and the Chironex fleckeri  Check them out!

Go to Toxic Terrors to read more facts.        See pictures in the Gallery.

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