Other Common Names: Meadow Saffron, Autumn Crocus, Naked Lady
During the fall, Naked Ladies like to make their appearances in the garden! No, we aren’t talking about a group of naked gardeners. Naked Lady is a nickname for Autumn Crocus, a popular fall-flowering bulb. The cheeky name comes from the fact that these flowers will emerge from the ground without leaves during the fall months, looking bare or naked.
Autumn crocuses are easily identified by their large, showy globlet-shaped flowers blooming on bare stems. Flowers, which come in shades of pink, purple and white, are native to European and North African meadows.
These fall-blooming flowers will add colour and beauty to any garden. They would would be ideal for rock gardens or among other low-growing plants. Naked ladies prefer sunny but sheltered locations, along with fertile, well-drained soils.
Interestingly, while the Autumn crocus and the spring-flowering crocus may look similar, they are NOT related. The Autumn crocus is not a true crocus. The spring flowering crocus, which is considered a true crocus, belongs to Iridaceae, the iris family. Another difference is that the spring crocus is harmless, while the Autumn Crocus is poisonous to both animals and humans, as it contains colchincine, a deadly toxin. Needless to say, Colchicum autumnale is not edible. Even harvesting them as cut flowers isn’t recommended!
In the language of flowers, the Autumn Crocus symbolizes “My best days are gone! I’m growing old.”
Climate Zones: 4-9