One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A plant of a genus that includes the autumn crocuses.
Genus Colchicum, family Liliaceae
- ‘But with autumn crocus and colchicum I extended my planting pleasure by several weeks.’
- ‘There are two different types of fall blooming bulbs, colchicums and crocus.’
- ‘Another flower well worth waiting for is the autumn colchicum, Colchicum speciosum.’
- ‘On warm nights they have begun nibbling the freshly emerging foliage of my autumn-flowering colchicums.’
- ‘You also can plant squirrel-proof bulbs like daffodils and colchicums.’
- 1.1mass noun The dried corm or seed of meadow saffron, which has analgesic properties and is used medicinally.
- ‘So Darwin had his urine tested, followed Bence Jones's special diet, and dosed himself with colchicum, a dangerously corrosive specific for gout.’
From Latin, from Greek kolkhikon ‘of Colchis’ (), alluding to the skills as a poisoner of the sorceress Medea of Colchis in classical mythology.
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