One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A poisonous autumn crocus that produces its flowers, usually lilac, in the autumn while leafless. Native to Europe and North Africa, it is a source of the drug colchicine.
- ‘Species found in the meadows include great burnet, meadow foxtail, red fescue, meadow saffron, narrow-leaved water-dropwort, mousetail, and the unusual small-flowered winter-cress on bare banks of the Severn.’
- ‘The meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale Pleniforum) in the photograph is looking a little worse for wear because Good Golly Miss Molly and her sibling partners in crime sat on it.’
- ‘You can take a little bit of arsenic every day for ten years, but what happens if someone slips some meadow saffron in your polenta?’
- ‘Also known as meadow saffron, they look good naturalised in turf, in the rock garden, at the front of a border or under an apple tree.’
meadow saffron/ˈmedō ˌsafrən/
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