Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Autumn Crocus

The autumn crocus continue to grow in a garden jumble, years after the gardener who planted them has passed away. Without her care they mix with leaves and overgrown foliage. Their pretty purple faces radiate beauty in the chaos. While searching for information about these pretty blossoms I discover that autumn crocus are very toxic but that some herbalists use it with care for the treatment of certain illnesses. Poets of old knew this too, and described a lovely venomous meadow on an autumn day.

Autumn Crocuses (Les colchiques)

The meadow is venomous but lovely in autumn
The cows graze there and are slowly poisoned 
The colchicum colour of shadow and lilac
Flowers there your eyes resemble that flower 
Violet shades like their shadow that autumn 
And slowly your eyes empoison my life. 

The children arrive from school, what a fracas,
Dressed in smocks and playing harmonicas
They gather the crocuses that are like mothers
Daughters of their daughters your eyelids' colour
That beat as the flowers beat in the wild breeze.

The herdsman sings and sings quite softly
While slowly mooing, the cows abandon 
Forever this wide field flowered by autumn.

Author Unknown


  1. The Autumn crocus is so beautiful.
    I didn't realize it was toxic though.
    Lovely, lovely color and so special to have this gift in your garden.

  2. I knew nothing of this autumn crocus and how interesting the poisonous, yet medicinal effects. We have quite a few medicines like that. What an intriguing little poem...

  3. I always look forward to my colchicums in the fall and this is the time to divide and move them when they can be found by their pretty flowers. The poem is interesting and a good reminder about the plants being poisonous.

  4. The one's growing in our neighbor's front yard have a way of catching light and glowing magically bright. The pink color seems so odd amongst the fallen autumn leaves and yet it is as autumnal as any crimson or golden leaf.


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