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Any plant of the genus Colchicum (lily family), sometimes called meadow saffron, comprising about 30 species of herbaceous plants native to Eurasia. The stemless, crocuslike flowers bloom in autumn. Several species are cultivated as ornamentals for their pink, white, or bluish-purple tubelike flowers, especially C. autumnale, C. bornmuelleri, and C. speciosum. The swollen underground stem of C. autumnale contains colchicine, a substance used to relieve the pain of gout.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on autumn crocus, visit Britannica.com.