Crocus spp., Iridaceae

C. flavus, C. vernus, C. vernus albiflorus, C. vernus ‘pickwick’

With some species and varieties of Crocus, I continue with the early-flowering geophytes I observed in this period. These are not from a botanic garden, but still make sure to attract attention at my local park, where they have followed the snowdrop I wrote about a few days ago, and blossomed into a colourful carpet among last autumn’s leaf litter.  

Although some species of Crocus are known to self-sow and expand rapidly around the area where the corms are initially placed, this is not always the case and depends often on the soil composition. The ones above have not gained any ground over the past three flowering seasons and that’s probably due to the heavy, clay-rich soil common here in Scotland. Being native to the mountainous regions of Southern Europe, they generally prefer a well-draining, coarse medium mixed with organic matter, so would do particularly well on rocky slopes and rock gardens. 

Note: I haven’t checked each flower singularly, there were hundreds, so some may as well be hybrids, or C. tommasianus, as most flowers were not fully open yet and I couldn’t see the inner parts. I will go back though.  


Plant of the Day
Tuesday 7 March 2017

Dramatic drifts of Crocus vernus (Dutch crocus, giant crocus, large-flowering crocus) cultivars include Crocus ‘Pickwick’ with large purple-striped flowers on a greyish-white background with orange stamens and stigma. These
herbaceous perennials grow from a corm, with linear leaves usually with a silvery central stripe.

Jill Raggett

A Beginner’s Guide to the Language of Flowers

The language of flowers is not a complicated code, and it isn’t intended to be a cryptograph. While composing sentence-long messages with floriography is possible, it is not particularly complex. For ease of reference, this guide is organized by meaning, not by flower. It includes bloom cycles, taxonomic names, pictures, and any other facts of interest such as typical clime or edible/medicinal uses.

This guide contains only European, North African and Eurasian flora (at least, I’m pretty sure. I may have fudged it up in some places).

Keep reading


Plant of the Day

Wednesday 12 April 2017

A compact, clump-forming herbaceous perennial Lathyrus vernus (bitter vetch) is ideal for the front of a border. The flowers are reddish-purple, and become shaded greenish-blue as they age. It thrives in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.

Jill Raggett

Weather and related words Wordlist

I love making wordlists, so here’s another! I’ve noticed one of the things other members of the Latin Fandom seem to mention lacking is the ability to talk about the weather. This list could never be close to exhaustive, so please, send me an ask if you want to know a word not included here, and I‘ll do my best!

aer, aeris
the air (“a” is long)

aether -eris (or aethra -ae) upper atmosphere, heavens, clear sky (so, like the upper troposphere I guess?)

aura -ae a breeze, the air

ventus -i wind

caelum -i (later coelum -i) sky, weather, climate

tempestas -atis storm, weather, season

praesagium -i tempestatis/caeli (no change, in GEN.) weather forecast

meteorologus -i or meteorologa -ae weather-person, meteorologist

nubes -is cloud

nimbus -i rainstorm, rain-shower, or specifically a rain-cloud

nebula -ae fog, cloud

imber -bris rain, a storm, pluvia -ae appears to have the same meaning

pluit, pluit it is raining, it rained (same form as present)

nix nivis snow (don’t accidentally say nex which means gruesome murder…)

ningit, ninxit it is snowing, it snew

gelu -us or glacies -ei ice

fulmen -inis or fulgur -is lightening, thunderbolt

fulget, fulsit it flashes, it flashed (best to use this in context or with fulmen or fulgur used explicitly as the subject, I think)

tonat, tonuit it thunders, it thundered

sol solis the Sun

sol lucet, luxit the Sun is shining, it shone

aestas -atis summer, aestivus -a -um summer-y, calor -oris heat

autumnus -i fall, autumn, autumnus -a -um autumnal

hiems -is winter, hibernus -a -um winter-y, algor -oris the cold

ver veris spring, vernus -i vernal, spring-y

–the following are in the neuter to be used with caelum

frigidum cold

commodum comfortable

tepidum warm

calidum hot

umidum humid, moist

nubilum cloudy, overcast

serenum serene, clear

imbridum rainy (apparently a medieval Latin word, don’t tell the purists)

Questions, Comments, and Suggestions are welcome as always!


You can tell Spring has sprung when the Crocus bulbs start to bloom! Members of the iris family Iridaceae, the genus Crocus is comprised of over 80 species, with most of the bulbs available on the market a mix of different hybrids and varieties. Crocus bulbs fall into two categories, fall blooming or spring blooming varieites. The spring blooming bulbs usually consist of the species C. vernus and C. chrysanthus, and hybrids and varieties derived from these and other spring blooming species. Although they are technically corms, they are sold with other spring blooming bulbs such as tulips, and daffodils.

Planted in the fall, Crocus bulbs do best in USDA zones 3-8 and require the cold temperatures of winter before they will produce leaves and flowers during the early weeks of spring. Crocus bulbs grow best in full sun and in well-draining soil, and will bloom for around 2 weeks. Once the flowers finish blooming and die back, the Crocus bulbs will remain dormant in the soil in wait for the next Spring!

Follow for more plant facts and photos!


Plant of the Day

Friday 6 March 2015

Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’ is in full flower in the sunshine. This Russian form was collected and named in 1934, and is brightening some well drained soil beneath multi-stemmed Betula (birch). The flowers open widely in the winter sunshine resulting in the temperature inside the goblet of petals being warmer than outside, which allows the nectar to flow. This makes it a popular destination for bumblebees looking for an early food source.

Jill Raggett