At only two and a half inches tall, this fragile ephemeral beauty is commonly known as a “Tommie” crocus (Crocus tommasinianus). The great English horticulturist, E. A. Bowles, called these crocuses “Tom” for short, but I am more inclined to call them the more feminine “Tomasina.” Bowles described the “chief charm” of a Tommie, as “its peculiarly amethystine shade of lilac. A beautiful color description.
Crocuses grow from an underground storage organ called a “corm” that is planted in the autumn and is a little less prone to being eaten by squirrels. The Tommie crocus spreads by seeding itself randomly into flower beds or low growing grass. They are best seen en masse with the low winter sunlight back-lighting their nearly transparent perianth segments (petals and sepals).
Photo copyright Jenny Rose Carey 2014
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