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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.
Additional recommended knowledge
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.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Colchicum_autumnale". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|