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Author Topic: IRG 22 October 2011  (Read 2509 times)

Maggi Young

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    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
IRG 22 October 2011
« on: November 05, 2011, 08:06:18 PM »
RE: article on Colchicum in the 'International Rock Gardener'

In IRG 22 I expressed doubt that colchicum were truly to be found "wild" in the UK and  was pleased to hear from John Grimshaw, who wrote  that he " thought you'd be interested to know that C. autumnale is wild here at Colesbourne & around - there's a patch on the main roadside a couple of miles away, but always associated with ancient woodland. It's curiously inconspicuous in flower though".

         John's note came with an accompanying photograph which he is happy for me to share here.
  I replied that I was much surprised by this and  "I'm sceptical  enough to think that they are naturalised, if ancient, escapees but it's an interesting record."

John replied again...
"Dear Maggi,

Your scepticism is unfounded: Colchicum autumnale is a genuine native with, at least formerly, a wide distribution especially in western England. The 1948 Flora of Gloucestershire says: 'Common over most of the county, especially on the Cotswolds.' Unfortunately, it has lost a lot of sites to agricultural improvement & thus from being essentially a meadow plant it is now found mostly in woodland. An old man in the village once told me he could remember meadows having their soil scraped off completely to eradicate Colchicum, it being potentially poisonous to cattle."

I remain doubtful as to how such a bulb might have truly survived ancient ice-ages to be considered "native" in so far as "the purists" regard the term.... but in the light of recent findings of Rhododendron ponticum pollen and remains  in the UK from extremely distant times, which would suggest that this much maligned "invasive" plant is in fact a true native, then perhaps I am just too suspicious for my own good!

Many thanks to John for this insight and for the use of his photo of these elegant flowers.

(John's Blog is here: http://johngrimshawsgardendiary.blogspot.com/ )
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 08:09:55 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Lesley Cox

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Re: IRG 22 October 2011
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 09:37:03 PM »
By the look of that photo I could successfully introduce it to my blackberry patch. ???
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9


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