Crocus chrysanthus

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Crocus chrysanthus
Crocus chrysanthus 'E.A. Bowles'
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Genus: Crocus
C. chrysanthus
Binomial name
Crocus chrysanthus
(Herb.) Herb.

Crocus chrysanthus, the snow crocus or golden crocus, is a species of flowering plant of the Crocus genus in the family Iridaceae. Native to the Balkans and Turkey, it bears vivid orange-yellow bowl-shaped flowers. It has smaller corms and a smaller flower than the giant Dutch crocus (Crocus vernus), although it produces more flowers per corm than the latter. Its common name, "snow crocus", derives from its exceptionally early flowering period, blooming about two weeks before the giant crocus, and often emerging through the snow in late winter or early spring. The leaves are narrow with a silver central stripe. Height: 3–4 inches (7.6–10.2 cm).[1]

The Latin specific epithet chrysanthus means "golden-flowered".[2]

'Blue Pearl'


Crocus chrysanthus cultivars are selections from Crocus chrysanthus and hybrids of this species with several subspecies of Crocus biflorus and Crocus aerius. Yellow cultivars are selections of Crocus chrysanthus. Blue and white cultivars are hybrids or selections close to Crocus biflorus.

An intensive hybridisation and selection programme was initiated by Jan Hoog (Van Tubergen nursery) and E.A. Bowles involving crosses between C. chrysanthus and a number of forms of C. biflorus; the results with larger flowers and usually flower markings and colors were named.[3]

Several of their numerous selections are still available. Examples:[3]

  • 'Advance': inside yellow, outside violet-blue
  • 'Ard Schenk': white with bronze throat
  • 'Blue Pearl'agm:[4] pale lavender or lobelia-blue with a bronze-yellow throat and base; rich blue tepal backs, paler within and with a yellow basal blotch
  • 'Blue Peter': midnight blue outside, palest blue within
  • 'Cream Beauty'agm:[5] creamy yellow with bronze throat
  • 'Goldilocks'agm:[6] butter yellow with bronze feathering
  • 'Ladykiller'[7] Pale lilac-white interior and deep purple-violet exterior with white margins
  • 'Prince Claus': white, blue flash on exterior
  • 'Romance': inside creamy, outside blueish
  • 'Saturnus': yellow inside, dark purple outside
  • 'Skyline': inside light blue, outside bright blue
  • 'Snow Bunting'agm:[8] white inside, outside creamy white with lilac feathering; bronze throat
  • 'Zwanenburg Bronze'agm:[9] gold yellow, outside bronze

Those cultivars marked agm have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.


  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. ^ a b Phillips, Roger; Rix, Martyn (1989). The Random House Book of Bulbs. Random House. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-679-72756-9.
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus biflorus 'Blue Pearl'". Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Crocus 'Goldilocks'". RHS. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus 'Ladykiller'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus 'Snow Bunting'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crocus chrysanthus 'Zwanenburg Bronze'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.

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