Also called the ‘Dutch Crocus’ or the ‘Nottingham Crocus’, it is the most commonly cultivated garden crocus which has also become widely naturalised. As a harbinger of spring, it grows from a small corm, and the delicate goblet-shaped flowers which sprout from it are pinkish-purple or lavender with pale stripes, or maybe completely white. The leaves are a bright vibrant green, long and narrow with white midribs on the upper surfaces.
It flowers February to June. Found on roadside verges, in churchyards, grassy habitats, and woodland margins and clearings. They can be found in great drifts in grassy places. It makes for a wonderful spring garden flower, for it is quite a hardy plant, and can be planted as an ornamental in rock gardens, borders, containers and lawns. But one has to be wary as mice and squirrels enjoy digging out and feasting on the corms. An introduced species from southern Europe, and often spread and flourishes in the wild as a garden escape. Common and widespread throughout Great Britain.
It is believed that twelfth century monks bought the crocus to England from the hills of southern Europe where they grow wild, notably Burgundy, as additions to their herb gardens.
February 2014, front garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014.