Colchicum autumnale

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaLiliaceaeColchicumColchicum autumnale


A cormous perennial herb of damp grassy places, including damp meadows and river banks, but most frequently encountered in clearings and rides within woodland, as it is toxic to livestock and often destroyed when found in grazed situations. Lowland.



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Neutral grassland (includes coarse Arrhenatherum grassland)

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 809

Height (cm): 35

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Tuberous or bulbous, slowing cloning by offsets

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 301

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 10

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.14

JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (317a)
Butcher RW
1954.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 42. Colchicum autumnale L. Journal of Ecology. 42:249-257.
Curtis TGF, McGough HN
1988.  The Irish Red Data Book. 1. Vascular Plants.
Mabey R
1996.  Flora Britannica.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.