August 16, 2017

The Big Little

Crocus chyrsanthus - snow crocus

Janine Pineo Photo | Crocus chyrsanthus – snow crocus

About the time the snowdrops ring in the first bloom of spring, soon will the exuberant colors of Crocus chrysanthus burst forth. Snow crocus may be small (3 inches tall at most), but the brilliant hues are like beacons in the awakening landscape, oftentimes rising out of the melting snow. They blossom usually a couple of weeks ahead of their larger relative, Dutch crocus or C. vernus. Native to the Balkans and Turkey and hardy to Zone 3, these diminutive plants are from corms not bulbs.  A corm is a solid food-storing underground stem, while a bulb has fleshy leaves around the stem. Crocus open in the sunlight, closing their petals at night. If cool enough, the plants should bloom for 2-3 weeks. After that, let the leaves develop to store food for the next bloom time. The plant will go dormant after the leaves turn yellow and die back.