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Source & Synonyms

Known as Autumn saffron , Meadow saffron


Obtained from
Colchicum autumnale
Liliaceae
Widely distributed in Europe
Derived its name from Colchis area on
Black sea where it was found
Recommended for Gout in Arabian writings
Life cycle
 Corm consists of enlarged underground
stem bearing foliage leaves , sheathing
leaves & fibrous roots
 In later part of summer new corm is
developing in the axils of a scale leaf near
the base of old corm
 In Sept the parent corm bears the remains
of recently withered leaves & is larger than
daughter corm
 For medicinal purposes the corm would
have been collected shortly after withering
of the leaves & before enlargement of its
axial bud
Life cycle
 The corms are surrounded by a dark
membranous coat
 Young corm develops fibrous roots at its base
 In Aug / Sept 2 – 6 flowers emerge from it but
its foliage leaves do not appear above ground
level until the following spring
 More than half the length of the flower is below
the ground & fruit lies protected throughout the
winter by surrounding corm & earth
 Fruit is 3 lobed , 3 celled , septicidal capsule & is
carried above ground in the spring by expanding
leaves
 During these changes the daughter corm grows
at the expense of parent which gradually
perishes .Before that it may produce in its
second spring one or more small corms
Fruit development
 Lilac / purple flowers appear from Aug to
Oct & are similar to crocus , hence called
autumn crocus
 The slowly developing fruit remains below
ground during autumn & winter
 A rosette of linear lanceolate leaves(3 or
4)develops in spring & in its center the
capsular fruit carried above ground by the
lengthening of its stalk
 Fruit dehisces septicidally into 3 valves &
liberates numerous seeds which ripen in
june to July
Collection
 Capsules collected about the end of
May – June before they split open
 Dried by enclosing in muslin cloth &
hanging them in dry place until they
dehisce & liberate seeds
 Separated by sifting
 As they ripen they darken in colour &
become covered with a saccharine
exudation (Glc)
Description
 Shape ovoid / globular / subspherical
 Testa extremely hard
dull , dark reddish brown
minutely pitted & rough
 Odourless
 Unpleasant bitter taste
 From the hilum there extends for about ¼ of the
circumference a well marked strophiole & is
present over raphe
Microscopy
 Testa thick walled , reddish brown
parenchyma
 Endosperm pitted walls , yellowish & oily
(fixed oil & aleurone grains )
 Strophiole contain starch
 Embryo
Constituents

 Allparts of plant contain alkaloid Colchicine


 Colchico resin
 Fixed oil
 Glucose
Uses
 Chieflyused to relieve the pain & inflammation
 Shorten the duration of acute gout
 Large doses cause death due to respiratory failure
 Polyploidy inducer
 Used in leukemia

Tests
 With 60 – 70 % H 2SO4 / conc HCl
yellow colour
 Alc .solution of colchicine with FeCl3
red colour