Mystery Flora: Pretty Sure You’re Not A Crocus, Buddy

I did a double-take when I saw these in the neighborhood! They look like gigantic crocuses to me, and it’s entirely the wrong time of year for those.

Image shows two pale purple flowers that look like very large crocuses springing from the ground by a rock. There are no leaves. They have six broad petals that taper to a rounded tip.
Mystery Flora I

I have since come to find out that there are autumn crocuses, too, but I remain skeptical. Perhaps you’ll be able to pin down the answer: are these crocuses, or a similar-appearing flower?

A huge bunch of the same flowers grow from the ground in front of a picket fence. They look like they're bowing toward the sidewalk.
Mystery Flora II

They seem somewhat popular: at least two houses in the neighborhood have got ’em. And I can see why: they’re gorgeous! Pipa and I took a slow walk round to look at them, and she was gracious enough to be patient while I got contorted into all sorts of angles taking photos for ye.

Three newer blooms, closed enough to form a wineglass shape, march in a diagonal across the photo.
Mystery Flora III

When you get up super-close, you see a sort of criss-cross pattern of darker purple lines in their petals. Really pretty!

View from above into one of the flowers. There are yellow-orange stamens bunched in the center.
Mystery Flora IV

I took about a trillion shots from different angles. Okay, 25. It was 25. I really love how they look against the board fence.

Image shows a cluster of the flowers rising against a blue-gray board fence. Slices of the blue sky are visible between the slats.
Mystery Flora V

I may turn some of these into prints: if you’d like, go check out the whole collection, and tell me which ones you think are the bestest ever. There’s bonus Pipa with poppies there, too! She was ever so helpful.

Have a last lovely look, and if you know what our beauties are, I’m dying to know!

Image shows two of the flowers that are nearly closed.
Mystery Flora VI
Mystery Flora: Pretty Sure You’re Not A Crocus, Buddy

8 thoughts on “Mystery Flora: Pretty Sure You’re Not A Crocus, Buddy

  1. 1

    Superb photos there. No idea what species or even genus or family they might be. Marvellously beautiful in any case though.

    Suspect parasitic plants* though – lack of chlorophyll green and stems with no leaves apparent suggests that, Of course quite a number of plants (many orchids among others I gather) go through stages with flowers and leaves that aren’t simultaneous. have you noted leaves there before connected with these ones?

    * Famously the largest flowering plant of all :

    Which is now endangered, perhaps unsurprising but something I didn’t really know till reading that.

  2. 4

    Uh, what did my keyboard just do?

    And again:

    The look like Herstzeitlosen to me. According to Wikipedia the are actually called Autumn Crocus in English.

    Around here (Germany) they grow wild. There are some meadows close to my home here with hundreds of them blooming right now. Quite a beautiful sight. I had no idea they were planted in gardens in the US.

    They have one downside though, they are quite poisonous and the leaves in spring look a bit like Bear’s Garlic so that this beautiful plant has been responsible for a number of deaths!

  3. 5

    I don’t remember the correct name but they are commonly called fall crocuses. Did you notice the absence of leaves? They have a rather peculiar growth cycle: In the spring they grow leaves, which feed the bulb and then wither and go away. Then suddenly in the fall, they flower, with no new leaves.

  4. 8

    It reminds me of rain lilies (Cooperia pedunculata), which are a type of crocus that grows wild around here in South Texas. Their leaves are very small and low-lying, so they hide in lawns really well. You won’t even know you have them until it rains. Blooms pop up a day or two after a rain, which doesn’t happen all that often during late spring through early fall around here. They are much smaller than those, though.×480/JAM6151/6151_IMG00352.JPG

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