Ian Bushell has sent in a picture of Crocus vernus doing its best in heavy rain, with this message:
“. . . this is the small clump of Spring Crocus (Crocus vernus) on the edge of the copse by the pond. Naturalised as a result of escape from cultivation/or possibly introduced to SCP.”
None of the 80 known species of crocus are native to Britain; they are native to much of central and southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and China but not to Britain. Their bright colours and early flowering habits made them popular with gardeners and they were first brought here in the sixteenth Century.
Unlike many other introductions, for example the Spanish squill, they grow without interbreeding with any of our native species. They do well here and gradually have made their way out of gardens and into woodlands to grow wild.
Like our native daffodil, the crocus has three methods of propagating itself: it can make seed, it can form tiny bulbils on the underground part of its stem, or it can form new bulbs at its roots. This belt and braces approach to reproduction is a major factor in its ability to spread and colonise large areas on the edge of deciduous woodland.
Let’s hope this crocus vernus decides to stay and colonise the copse near the pond.