Colchicine is a plant that is derived from Colchicum autumnale. Mostly, the plant is called autumn crocus. The scientific name is Colchicum autumnale L. Other species include Colchicum speciosum and Bulbocodium vernum L (Walia, 2016). It is a flower that looks like crocuses, but blossoms in autumn. Sometimes it is called “naked lady” because flowers appear from the ground when leaves die back. Apart from naked lady, the plant is also known as meadow saffron. In its wild form, it is called Colchicum autumnale the way it is described by some people. The plant belongs to the family of Colchicaceae. Colchicum is genus name of perennial flowering plants, which are characterized by erect, strap-shaped leaves whose lengths is thirty centimeters. There are more than one hundred and sixty species of Colchicum (Walia, 2016). The plant was first planted in West Asia, some areas on the Mediterranean coast. It is important to state that the ovary of this plant is found underground, making the styles to very long in the proposition. In fact, it is more than ten centimeters.
The plant is called so because it was discovered in Colchis in an old state that is located in the eastern part of the Black Sea (Bourne, 2015). The history of this plant associates it with Europe, North Africa, and Asia. However, the information concerning it is ancient. Currently, the plant is the only genus that is native to the Great Britain and Ireland. Most of its populations are preserved by County Wildlife Trust. However, it is also found in many states in Europe. In Denmark, Sweeden, New Zealand, and some other countries, it is naturalized.
It is important to state that Colchicine is a perennial crop, and its entire parts are poisonous (Roberts, 2013). The plant grows fast, and its light requirement ranges from full sun to part shade. Besides, it does well in dry or medium moisture and requires low maintenance. Regarding the parts that are used, seeds, bulb, and flowers make medicine. Although there are many concerns because the plant is viewed as poisonous, it is used to treat many disorders, such as arthritis, gout, and other inherited diseases. The drug is prepared to utilize freshly dug bulb of the herb colchicum autumnale, which is usually dug in spring season (Roberts, 2013). The bulb is later cleaned, chopped, and soaked in alcohol. During preparation, the plant is continuously diluted till all pieces of the initial plant are gotten rid of. The resulting product is a useful medicine, which is safe for treating many health problems (Pfaf, 2015). Initially, the plant was viewed as poisonous one, and it used to grow on its own in forests. However, as time progressed, people realized its importance and started using it to treat some diseases while still in the forest. Later, they realize they could benefit more by domesticating it. In fact, the plant is not only domesticated by individuals, but also preserved by association that protects that species. In this view, the plant has evolved from a wild one to that is significant to the individuals because of the health benefits linked to it.
It is important to state that the plant does not require unique features of cultivation. In fact, it is growing and do well in light sandy, loamy, and clay soils. However, the soils must be well-drained (Kurian, & Sankar, 2007). The suitable pH for Colchicine is acid, neutral, and basic soils. Besides, it is grown in woodland and moist soils, just as it is mentioned above. Above all, it should be propagated after four years. The plant is economically important because it those who sell its medicine get money. Additionally, in areas where it is preserved, it acts as a tourist attraction and people who go to see it pay, implying there is a generation of income.
- Bourne, V., (2015). How to grow: colchicum. Retrieved from
- Kurian, A., M., & Sankar, A., W., (2007). Medicinal plants. United Kingdom: Routledge.
- Pfaf, (2015). Colchicum autumnale. Retrieved from http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Colchicum+autumnale
- Roberts, M. F., (2013). Alkaloids: biochemistry, ecology, and medicinal applications. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
- Walia, U, S., (2016). Weed identification and medicinal use. New York, NY: Scientific publishers.