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Crocus: Crocus korolkowii

Botanical name: Crocus korolkowii

Common name: Korolkov's crocus

also known as (Celandine Crocus)

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created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: damp, neutral, sand
Zones: 4a thru 8b

deer resistant, winter interest

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description for "Crocus: Crocus korolkowii"

Crocus korolkowii is named for a Russian general who found it in Turkestan. Hardy and floriferous, the bright golden-yellow flowers, tinged green, open flat in the late winter sun like shining varnished stars. Easily grown and free-flowering, spring flowering species crocuses will increase their kind from year to year. When you order, keep in mind the naturally smaller size of the species corms because you'll want enough to form tight groups. And don't forget to pot a few corms to force into early bloom in your home over winter. It's a way to preview your treasure trove weeks before the corms bloom outdoors, just about the time the snow melts. Since conditions have to be fairly perfect (bright overcast to sunny, & no heavy rain to knock them down) it's nice to plant every variety that can be obtained, so that which days or weeks are ideal will find one or another C. korolkowii showing itself to ideal effect. This is true for just about all crocuses really; not all will have a perfect showing every year depending on storm patterns, & each year will find differing species or varieties in good time with the weather. Look to the species crocuses for a bit of daring and adventure. After all, these crocuses hail from homelands that include Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Asia Minor and China. The flowers of the species are miniature when compared to their Dutch cousins, but the species definitely hold the upper hand when it comes to color, especially the bicolored species which are exotically feathered or dusted with a secondary hue. --edited by dtd siegelgirl


The species is native to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, & northward through Russia to the Kara Tau mountains. It is named for General N. J. Korolkov who collected plants in Central Asia in the 1870s for the botanical garden in St Petersburg. Korolkov also has an iris, arum, honeysuckle & a few other plants named for him. Sometimes called the celandine crocus, because it is the same color as lesser celandine & the celandine poppy. The name celandine has come to mean "yellow;" but the word in actuality alludes to a swallow, & very early bloomers were so-named because they were first to flower in the year, as swallows are among the first birds to return before winter has even ended. The reason so many of the earliest-blooming crocuses plus buttercup-family celandines are bright yellow is because they're competing for the same early-season pollinators, which are most attracted to yellow.

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