The Pesky Dog

“Come on,” he yelled, “It’s time to take the pesky dog for a walk!”

Pesky DogGreat! I didn’t even know that we had a pesky dog. I couldn’t wait to meet her.

Pesky DogBut we couldn’t find her, we looked everywhere.

In the end it was just him and me as usual.

Pesky Dog

Pesky Dog

Pesky DogNever mind, I think he enjoyed himself.

Pesky DogA short post tonight but quite a pretty one ๐Ÿ™‚

Crocus tommasinianus, The Woodland Crocus

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)Also known asย Tommasini’s Crocus or just as Tommies it is named after a botanist and mayor of Triest,ย Muzio G. Spirito de Tommasini.

Other names include Early Crocus and Snow Crocus but these names are applied to several different species.

How do we know that this is a Woodland Crocus? Answer: The white perianth tube (you can say stem)

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)I hate using words like perianth tube when stem will do just as well but in this case it is more accurate.

The prianth of a flower usually means the sepals and the petals combined. The non reproductive parts of the flower that surround the reproductive parts. In the case of the Crocus the stem and ovary ย remain underground until the seeds ripen, a strategy to protect the seeds from the winter weather. What looks like a stem is actually part of the perianth.

The silver stripe on the leaves isn’t much help to identification, pretty much all Crocuses have that feature but timing is a guide, this is one of our earliest crocuses and flowers in February.

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)It is naturalised in the UK but only recently. Introduced in the mid nineteenth century it was only recorded growing in the wild in 1963. It is much more common in the south of England and still quite rare when you head north.

It is native to Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia.

Crocuses are rich in nectar and pollen and rely exclusively on insects to pollinate them. They should be a favourite of early Bees but there is a catch. They only open in full sun and may not be open very much at all if they are growing in woodland, in February.

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)Crocuses grow from a corm (something between a bulb and a tuber) and they produce small corms around the base of the original. This is a second form of reproduction in case pollination fails so it is not unusual to find them growing in tight little groups.

Crocuses have six petals and three anthers that surround the central style.

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)The spice saffron comes from another crocus (Crocus sativus), it is made from just the female parts, the style and stigmas. It is the most expensive spice in the world and you can see from looking at this species that it takes a lot of crocuses to make just a little saffron.

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae

Order:ย Asparagales

Family:ย Iridaceae

Genus:ย Crocus

Species:ย Crocusย tommasinianus

Woodland Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)Wildflowers in winter.

What winter?

Pesky Dog

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32 thoughts on “The Pesky Dog”

  1. Lovely! My first sign of spring coming is little purple crocuses behind my house. I have seen them be a little early and get snowed on, but most years they time it just right. Such delicate little gems coming thru the ground just when we need a sign that spring isn’t far off.

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    1. Thank you Sarasin ๐Ÿ™‚ They are designed to be snowed on. (That business of the perianth tube not being the stem) The seeds remain underground until they are ripe and ready for dispersal. I didn’t have photographs of that process but I shall try and get them this year, it is fascinating.

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      1. I am not sure if our autumn crocus is the saffron one and now have got very confused by Wikipedia and all the varieties of croci. And as in UK now will not be able to find one so should have taken some photos in Autumn…..they may be colchicum? And if so toxic? I did buy some saffron crocus from a Spanish garden centre. You have really in depth botanical know how. I am struggling!

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  2. I am delighted to learn about Tommasini as I love Trieste and spring, thank you!!! Didn’tknow he lived in Ljubljana, too!And by the way,tommies grow here in Slovenia pretty well ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. Who’d have thought a post on a crocus would hold so much interest? Of all the countries you list the one I haven’t been to is Bulgaria. The others are all great places for a naturalist like you, and they seem to have more grasshoppers and crickets than us, plus a great numerous birds of prey.

    As for Saffron, well that’s just perfect for Cornwall’s other famous delicacy. The saffron cake. my wife hunted high and low for some to offer at my recent Birthday party. None to be found in Sussex.

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    1. Thank you Andrew and Stephanie ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to but it does raise a little question of ethics. Nationally rare and with 80% of the UK population living in one little meadow north of Swindon it is not a wildflower that many people are going to bump into. I have grown them in my garden in the past and I could easily fake it. There are a couple of local places that I only discovered late in the year that might be home to a Snake’s head or two but it is a long shot and would probably make me famous if I found it there. I will keep my eyes open, if it pops up in my landlord’s garden then I will include it but, for now, I want to concentrate on the common flowers that people will find ๐Ÿ™‚ I do agree though, it is beautiful.

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  4. Fizz is just so photogenic. The crocuses are a wonderful sign of spring – but Fizz is ‘all year round’! Merry Holidays Colin and a very happy new year. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Thanks for the crocus information. We’re having tons of mushrooms and a few blooms on bushes starting. Lots of rain seemed to have confused the plants. I’ll start looking for crocus.

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