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Plant Profile: Ankara Crocus (Crocus ancyrensis)

Ankara crocus is a perennial plant and a member of the iris family, Iridaceae, that also includes gladiola, freesia, and crocosmia.  It is endemic to Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan where it grows on dry hillsides.  Three to four grass like leaves grow from each corm in late winter to spring followed by 2-3 long slender  6-petaled flowers.  The flowers are cup-shaped, 1′ long, and have bright yellow petals sometimes touched with bronze.   The cultivar, ‘Golden Bunch”, produces  5-10 flowers per corm. Ankara crocus is an excellent choice for a rock garden or grassy area but should not be planted in area such as lawns that need mowing before the foliage matures in spring.  The genus name, Crocus, comes from the Greek word krokos, meaning saffron referring to the fact that one species, C. sativus, is the source of that spice.  The specific epithet, ancyrensis, refers to Ankara, the capital of Turkey and country where the plant is endemic.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Late winter to very early spring

Size: 4-6″ H x 6″ W

Light:Full sun, tolerate light shade

Soil:Average, medium moist to dry, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Care: Do not cut foliage until yellow

Pests and Diseases: Rabbits, rodents, andother small mammals eat the corms.

Propagation: Division of offsets, seed

Companion Plants:Other early crocuses, hellebores, glory of the snow, pansy, Iris reticulata

Outstanding Selections: ‘Golden Bunch’

 

Photo Credit : Ghislain  Wikimedia Common