by Stephen Mifsud
   6 Feb 2023      ()
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Colchicum cupanii   (Mediterranean meadow saffron)

Colchicum cupanii  (COLCHICACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
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Profile Date Nov-2004 (taxon update: Nov-2004)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Colchicum cupanii - datasheet created on Nov-2004. Retrieved from on 06-Feb-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Colchicum cupaniiGuss.
Published in Fl. Sic. Prodr. 1: 452–3 (1827)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Colchicum bertolonii Steven
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Colchicaceae DC. (=Liliaceae) (The Colchicum Family)
1 species from the Colchicaceae family is recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Mediterranean meadow saffron

Maltese name(s) :

Busieq, Buswieq tax-xitwa

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

October – November

Colour of Flowers:



Highly toxic and can lead to death even if consumed in minute quantities

Name Derivation :

Colchicum: from or related to Colchis, a region east of the Euxine part of Turkey and west of Georgia. First plants of this genus described from this region. (Latin origin )
cupanii: Named after the monk Francis Cupani (1657-1710), who dedicated his life studying natural sciences. He became the director of the botanical gardens of Misilmeri, near Palermo and author of the impressive work Hortus Catholicus. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Rocky ground
Preferred habitat in Malta: Garigue, Steppe, Cliff tops and Damp soil in rocky gaps and pockets.
Botanical Description: Corm 1-2 x 1-1.5 cm, ovoid; tunic dark brown, coriaceous, with a short neck. Leaves 2(-3), up to 8(-10) cm at anthesis, up to 15 cm x 10-18 mm (rarely only 7 cm x 2-3 mm) at maturity, linear to linear-lanceolate, obtuse to acute, glabrous, rarely ciliate at base. Flowers 1-5(-12); perianth-segments up to 25 x 3-5 mm, purplish-pink, narrowly elliptical obtuse to acute. Filaments up to 12 mm; anthers 2-3 mm purplish-black; pollen yellow. Styles straight; stigmas punctiform. Capsule c. 15 mm, oblong. Flowering September to December.
Chromosome number: 2n=54
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, westwards to S.E. France local

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Doubtful inAlbania, Doubtful in Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ag Al Cr Ga Gr It Sa Si Tn

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (43 images)
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-0.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-1.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-2.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-3.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-4.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-5.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-6.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-7.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-8.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-9.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-10.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-11.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-12.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-13.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-14.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-15.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-16.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-17.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-18.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-19.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-20.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-21.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-22.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-23.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-24.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-25.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-26.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-27.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-28.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-29.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-30.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-31.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-32.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-33.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-34.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-35.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-36.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-37.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-38.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-39.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-40.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-41.
   Colchicum cupanii   -   Image Code: CLCCU-42.

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