Any Crocus Experts Out There

who could help with an ID?

Any of the pale ones look familiar?

My friend Gary Lincoff, author of The Audubon Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, teacher at the New York Botanical Garden and crocus enthusiast, is a naming things kind of guy. So when he saw the crocus picture in the Maple Syrup post he wanted to know exactly which species and cultivars they were.

Both looked like Crocus sieberi to him, and I knew he was right about the purple one (far left above); it’s C. sieberi ‘Firefly. But I don’t have any white C. sieberi, so I’m thinking the original picture is deceptive and the pale one is actually C. chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty,’ ( 2nd in from the right) C. biflorus ‘Purity’ (2nd in from the left) or – less likely – the purple blotched one 3rd from right or the pure white one at the end, both also mysteries. (The dark yellow one with the stripes is C. chrysanthus ‘Gypsy Girl,” in the lineup to show what the bases of that group often look like.)

You’d think I’d at least be able to show a single mugshot of our quarry, even if I didn’t know its name. Unfortunately, there are several candidates because I’m not sure which possible clump is the one in the picture – reproduced here for your convenience.

name the pale one and you win --- undying gratitude

So I just went out the first chance I got and gathered all the pale ones it could have been and if anyone would like to help us out, we’d both be very happy.

Here they are again, reversed

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  • Lorna Sass Said,

    I’m not sure what it is about us humans that makes us want to name things, and it sure it a handy tool for communicating. But all too often I find that trying to remember the name of something gets in the way of my appreciating its beauty. Especially as I’m getting older and losing words at an alarming rate, I try to focus on the thing itself when the name doesn’t come to mind. This approach increases my happiness quotient.

  • Anne Said,

    There are soooo many crocus out there! It would be very hard to see which is which in my opinion, without really seeing them in person (or flower). Naming them does not depreciate their beauty to me; it might mean I am tempted go find some, however!

    Could the one with the lavender blotch be Crocus chrysanthus ‘Blue Pearl’ (sometimes called Blue Giant)?

    • Leslie Said,

      Lorna – I know just what you mean – or at least I think I do… Leaving aside the part where I’m supposed to know every last botanical binomial, there are a lot of times when focussing on “the thing itself” is far more happiness productive, and that’s not just in the garden. Ignoring the wall notes at the museum can often do wonders for the art… And on a related note, I far too often find myself torn between wanting to just absorb some delight like the 1st Cedar Waxwing and wanting to run for the camera. (Usually, as soon as the damn thing flies away I feel like I’ve made the wrong choice no matter which choice I made. Very opposite of enlightened behavior.)

      Anne – You are of course right about seeing, and not infrequently smelling, in person. Bill runs into it all the time with people expecting him to identify mushrooms from photographs. And even though I agree with Lorna in the naming department I also agree with you; being able to identify flowers can enhance their beauty as easily as it can detract. As for the lavender blotch, I’m now thinking it may be ‘Prins Claus,’ but only because in the Scheepers catalog the blotch on ‘Blue Pearl’ is lower on the petal.

      In fear of a predicted 14 degree low last night I picked a whole bunch of ’em to bring indoors and was impressed while doing so by the myriad subtle variations between flowers that I absolutely knew from their placement to be the same cultivar. No surprise, but a useful thing to keep in mind.

  • Anne Said,

    Oh, well. I am no crocus expert,for sure; but I thought I would try a stab at it! Depending upon what one put in, which for me is sometimes hard to remember; and barring natural species that pop up, one can sometimes get it right. But plant nerds like myself always like to know the names of things!

  • Gary Said,

    You might try this site which is a wonderful reference for the genus Crocus.

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