Crocus cartwrightianus

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Crocus cartwrightianus
Crocus cartwrightianus Sounion 2.jpg
Scientific classification
C. cartwrightianus
Binomial name
Crocus cartwrightianus

Crocus cartwrightianus is a species of flowering plant in the family Iridaceae, native to mainland 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.[1]

The Latin specific epithet cartwrightianus refers to the 19th century British Consul to Constantinople, John Cartwright.[2]

C. cartwrightianus is the presumed wild progenitor of the domesticated triploid Crocus sativus – the saffron crocus.[3][4][5] Although some doubts remain on its origin,[6] it is believed that saffron originated in Iran.[7] However, Greece[6] and Mesopotamia[7] have also been suggested as the possible region of origin of this plant. 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.[8]

This plant,[9] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

C. cartwrightianus 'Albus'


  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  2. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  3. ^ M. Grilli Caiola - Saffron reproductive biology
  4. ^ Nemati, Zahra; Blattner, Frank R.; Kerndorff, Helmut; Erol, Osman; Harpke, Dörte (2018-10-01). "Phylogeny of the saffron-crocus species group, Crocus series Crocus (Iridaceae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 127: 891–897. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2018.06.036. ISSN 1055-7903. PMID 29936028.
  5. ^ Schmidt, Thomas; Heitkam, Tony; Liedtke, Susan; Schubert, Veit; Menzel, Gerhard (2019). "Adding color to a century-old enigma: multi-color chromosome identification unravels the autotriploid nature of saffron (Crocus sativus) as a hybrid of wild Crocus cartwrightianus cytotypes". New Phytologist. 222 (4): 1965–1980. doi:10.1111/nph.15715. ISSN 1469-8137. PMID 30690735.
  6. ^ a b Gresta, F.; Lombardo, G. M.; Siracusa, L.; Ruberto, G. (2008). "Saffron, an alternative crop for sustainable agricultural systems. A review". Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 28 (1): 95–112. doi:10.1051/agro:2007030. S2CID 44054590.
  7. ^ a b Ghorbani, R.; Koocheki, A. (2017). "Sustainable Cultivation of Saffron in Iran". In Lichtfouse, Eric (ed.). Sustainable Agriculture Reviews (PDF). Springer. pp. 170–171. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-58679-3. ISBN 978-3-319-58679-3. S2CID 28214061.
  8. ^ C.Michael Hogan, Knossos Fieldnotes, the Modern Antiquarian (2007)
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus cartwrightianus". Retrieved 30 July 2020.

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