Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Winter crocuses

I mentioned the crocus earlier as the prairie icon of spring. They come very early, and they take a risk to do so. Sometimes frost will kill most of the seed. Sometimes you even see them blanketed with snow.

Another risk is that unseasonable weather at another time of year will trick them into blooming at a very odd time. Last fall I posted about a crocus I found in Mom's seed gardens in October. Such autumn bloomings are fairly common, when early cold weather apparently resets the plants' clocks, and a subsequent warm spell gets them going as if it's spring. But this past winter, we had some very unusual midwinter warm spells. Debra at PCTC told me there were crocuses blooming in the Qu'Appelle Valley in November and in January.

2 comments:

Richard said...

Laura:

The following relates that " there are about 30 species of crocus that bloom in fall and winter."

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1009.html

You probably know all that already, but the saffron crocus is the best known of the fall blooming varieties.

Laura said...

Actually I know very little about horticultural species. Those would be true Crocus species, from Europe, rather than our native "crocus" which is actually a species of anemone (windflower): Anemone patens.