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Colchicum autumnale
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Colchicaceae
Genus: Colchicum
Species: C. autumnale
Binomial name
Colchicum autumnale
L.

Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked lady, is a flower which resembles the true crocuses, but flowering in autumn. (This is not a reliable distinction, however, since there are many true crocuses that flower in autumn.) The name "naked lady" comes from the fact that the flowers emerge from the ground long after the leaves have died back.

Contents

Toxicity for medicinal uses

The plant has been mistaken by foragers for ramsons, which it vaguely resembles, but is a deadly poison due to the presence of colchicine, a useful drug with a narrow therapeutic index. The symptoms of colchicine poisoning resemble those of arsenic and there is no antidote. Despite its toxicity, colchicine is an approved treatment for gout and is also used in plant breeding to produce polyploid strains.

Danger of extinction

On January 18, 2008, the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (representing botanic gardens in 120 countries) stated that "400 medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, from over-collection and deforestation, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease". These included yew trees (the bark is used for cancer drugs, paclitaxel); Hoodia (from Namibia, source of weight loss drugs); half of Magnolia species (used as Chinese medicine for 5,000 years to fight cancer, dementia and heart disease); and autumn crocus (for gout). The group also found that 5 billion people benefit from traditional plant-based medicine for health care.[1]

Gallery

References

External links


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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Colchicum autumnale

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Liliales
Familia: Colchicaceae
Genus: Colchicum
Species: Colchicum autumnale

Name

Colchicum autumnale L.

Vernacular names

Español: Cólquico
Magyar: Őszi kikerics
Suomi: Syysmyrkkylilja
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Colchicum autumnale on Wikimedia Commons.

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