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Autumn crocus

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 353 views


The autumn crocus is widespread in southern, western and central Europe and grows mainly on damp meadows and in gardens. It appears in spring and blooms in late summer.


The autumn crocus is a perennial bulbous plant that flowers from August. The flowers consist of six lilac-pink petals. After pollination, oblong, egg-shaped capsule fruits develop from this, which contain a large number of seeds.

Toxic parts

All parts of the autumn crocus are poisonous, but especially the tuber and seeds. The main active ingredient is colchicine, which acts as a cell toxin. From the seeds, five grams is enough to kill an adult. In children, a quantity of between 1.2 and 1.5 grams is life-threatening.

Possible symptoms

Signs of poisoning with autumn crocus only appear two to six hours after eating parts of the plant. Typical are nausea , bloody diarrhea and shortness of breath. Heart failure can also occur.

First aid

Parts of the plant that are still in the mouth should be spat out immediately. Drink plenty, preferably water , to dilute the poison. But stay away from milk – it can increase the toxic effect!

If you suspect poisoning with autumn crocus, you should go to the doctor immediately! If larger amounts were consumed, call an ambulance on 112. Vomiting should only be induced under supervision or after prior consultation with the poison control center.

useful information

In spring, the leaves of the autumn crocus are often confused with those of the edible wild garlic. The distinguishing feature is that wild garlic leaves have a typical, garlic-like smell, which is missing from the leaves of the autumn crocus.

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