Crocus cartwrightianus is a species of flowering plant in the family Iridaceae, native to Greece and Crete. It is a cormous perennial growing to 5 cm (2 in). The flowers, in shades of lilac or white with purple veins and prominent red stigmas, appear with the leaves in autumn and winter.
C. cartwrightianus is the presumed wild progenitor of the domesticated triploid Crocus sativus – the saffron crocus. It probably appeared first in Crete. An origin in Western or Central Asia, although often suspected, has been disapproved by botanical research.
This species is commonly found growing on limestone soil areas of the Attica Peninsula of Greece. There is evidence that this plant was cultivated in ancient Crete at least as early as the Middle Minoan Period, as exhibited by a mural, the "Saffron Gatherer", illustrating the gathering of crocuses.
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- "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus cartwrightianus". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus cartwrightianus 'Albus'". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
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