The genus Colchicum in Greece

 By Sotiris Alexiou

revised and last updated, August 2017


  •      Greece and Turkey are the two main regions of diversity and speciation for the genus Colchicum. 31 species (32 taxa) have been recorded from Greece, 14 of them endemic (35 in the Balkan peninsula). Turkey has similar numbers: 35 species (36 taxa), 14 of them endemic.  
  •      So, this is a survey of genus Colchicum L. in Greece. The survey is based on the existing literature. Aim of this site is to promote the study of the genus all around Greece, with the use of field work as well as collections.
  •      Colchicaceae comprise c. 250 species and 15-21 genera of rhizomatous or cormous perennial geophytes, distributed all over Eurasia, tropical Africa and N America. Colchicum, along with the mainly African genus Androcymbium, both constitute the monophyletic tribe Colchiceae. It is still uncertain whether Colchicum sould expand to include, at least, Androcymbium


  •      The genus Colchicum (incl. Merendera Ramond, 1801 and Bulbocodium L., 1753), contains 99 species (Persson 2007). Here, we accept the inclusion of genus Merenda Ramond (species with wholly free perianth segments) to Colchicum s. str. (species with segments connate into a tube).
  •      Monumental for the understanding of this difficult genus in Greece (incl. the E Aegean islands), were the revisions made by K. Persson with a number of papers (1988-1999). New species were described (1988: C. graecum and C. pulchellum, 1999a: C. confusum, C. chimonanthum and C. rausii)  and clarification of the situation of many earlier ill-described species, mainly autumn-flowering with large-leaved species (C. parnassicum, C. euboeum, C. autumnale, C. hanaldii, were made. Since then, two more species have been described:  C. sfikasianum (Kit Tan & Iatrou, 1995) and C. asteranthum (Vassiliades & Persson 2002). A synopsis of the genus was made by Persson (2007). Finally, the first phylogenetic analysis of the genus was conducted recently (Persson et al. 2011). In Persson’s work is this article almost completely based on, and to her, it is dedicated. Thank you, Karin!!!


The Colchicum species of Greece:

(in alphabetical order)

          1.  Colchicum asteranthum Vassiliades & K. Persson, 2002

          2.  Colchicum atticum Spruner, 1840

          3.  Colchicum autumnale L., 1753

                   4. Colchicum balansae Planch., 1855

          5.  Colchicum bivonae Guss., 1821

          6.  Colchicum boissieri Orph., 1876

          7.  Colchicum burttii Meikle, 1977

          8.  Colchicum chalcedonicum Azn., 1897 subsp. chalcedonicum

          9.  Colchicum chimonanthum K. Persson, 1999

   10. Colchicum confusum K. Persson, 1999

   11.   Colchicum cretense Greuter, 1967

            12.  Colchicum cupanii Guss., 1827 

   13.  Colchicum doerfleri Halácsy, 1897

   14.  Colchicum euboeum (Boiss.) K. Persson, 1998

15.  Colchicum graecum K. Persson, 1988

16.  Colchicum haynaldii Heuff., 1858

17. Colchicum lingulatum Boiss. & Spruner, 1844 subsp. lingulatum

18. Colchicum macrophyllum B.L.Burtt, 1951

19. Colchicum parlatoris Orph., 1876

20. Colchicum parnassicum Sartori, Orph. & Heldr., 1859

21. Colchicum peloponnesiacum Rech. f. & P. H. Davis, 1949

22. Colchicum pulchellum K. Persson 1988

           23. Colchicum pusillum Sieber, 1822

           24. Colchicum rausii K. Persson, 1999

           25Colchicum sfikasianum Kit Tan & Iatrou, 1995

           26. Colchicum soboliferum (Fisch. & C.A.Mey.) Stef., 1926

           27. Colchicum stevenii Kunth, 1843

           28. Colchicum triphyllum Kunze, 1846

           29. Colchicum turcicum Janka, 1873

           30. Colchicum variegatum L., 1753

       31. Colchicum zahnii Heldr. 

Κύρια βιβλιογραφία

Main literature:

Akan H. & Eker I. 2005. Chek-list of the Genus Colchicum in the Flora of  Turkey. – Turk. J. Bot. 29:327-331.

Barina, Z., Pifkó, D. & Mesterházy, A. 2011. Contributions to the flora of Albania, 3. – Willdenowia 41: 329-339. 

Brickell, C. D. 1980: Colchicum L.—Pp. 21–25 in: Tutin, T. G. et al. (eds.): Flora Europaea 5. — Cambridge.

Dimopoulos, P., Raus, Th., Bergmeier, E., Constantinidis, Th., Iatrou, G., Kokkini S., Strid, A. & Tzanoudakis, D. 2013. Vascular plants of Greece: An annotated checklist. –    Berlin: Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem; Athens: Hellenic Botanical Society. [Englera 31]. 

Dusen O & Sumbul H, 2007. A Morphological Investigation of Colchicum L. (Liliaceae) Species in the Mediterranean Region in Turkey. – Turk  J. Bot 31: 373-419.

Küçüker, O. 1995. Contribution to the knowledge of some endangered Colchicum species of Turkey. – Fl. Medit. 5: 211-219.

Malo, S. & Shuka, L. 2013. Distribution of Colchicum doerfleri Halácsy, Colchicum triphyllum Kunze and Colchicum bivonae Guss., in

     Albania. – International Journal of Ecosystems and Ecology Sciencies 3 (2): 273-278. 

Nguyen, T.P.A., Kim, J.S. & Kim, J.-H. 2013. Molecular phylogenetic relationships and implications for the circumscription of Colchicaceae

     (Liliales). –  Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 172: 255-269.

Özhatay, N., Kültür, Ş. & Aslan, S., 2009. Check-list of additional taxa to the Supplement Flora of  Turkey IV.  – Turk. J. Bot. 33:    191-226.

Persson, K. 1988. New species of Colchicum (Colchicaceae) from the Greek mountains. – Willdenowia 18: 29-46.

Persson, K. 1991. In: Strid A & Tan, K (eds) 1991. Mountain Flora of Greece, Vol.2. – Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press.

Persson, K. 1998. Comments on some tessellated Colchicum species in the East Mediterranean area. – Candollea 53: 399-418.

Persson, K. 1999a. New and revised species of Colchicum (Colchicaceae) from the Balkan Peninsula.- Pl. Syst. Evol. 217:55-80.

Persson, K. 1999b. The genus Colchicum in Turkey. II. Revision of the large-leaved autumnal species. – Edinb. J. Bot. 56 (1): 103-142.

Persson, K. 2005. A new Turkish species of Colchicum (Colchicaceae) related to C. boissieri. – Edinb. J. Bot. 62(3): 181-192.

Persson, K. 2007. Nomenclatural synopsis of the genus Colchicum (Colchicaceae), with some new species and  combinations. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 127: 165-242.

Persson, K. 2009. In Marhold (editor): IAPT/IOPB chromosome data 7. – Taxon 58 (1): E1-E11.

Persson, K., Petersen, G., Hoyo del, A., Seberg, O. & Jørgensen, T. 2011. A phylogenetic analysis of the genus Colchicum L. (Colchicaceae) based   on sequences from six plastid regions. – Taxon 60 (5): 1349- 1365.

Phitos, Constantinidis & Kamari (editors), 2009. The Red Data Book of Rare and Threatened plants of Greece. – Hellenic Botanical Society,


Sevgi, E. and Küçüker, O. 2011. Morpho-anatomical observations on Colchicum boissieri Orph. in Turkey. – IUFS J. Biol. 70 (2): 53-61.

 Strid, A. 2016. Atlas of the Aegean flora. Part 1: Text & Plates. – Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum  Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin. – Englera 33 (1). 

Strid, A. 2016. Atlas of the Aegean flora. Part 2: Maps. – Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum  Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin. – Englera 33 (2).   

Tan K, Iatrou G, 2001. Endemic Plants of Greece, The Peloponnese. Gads Forlag.

Turland N, Chilton L & Press J, 1993. Flora of the Cretan area-Annotated checklist & atlas. London:H.M.S.O.

Vassiliades, D. & Persson, K. 2002. A new winter-flowering species of Colchicum from Greece. – Preslia 74: 57-65. 

Vinnersten, A. & Reeves, G. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships within Colchicaceae. – Am. J. Bot. 90 (10): 1455-1462.

New, recent records from:

Κωνσταντινίδης, Θ. & Καλπουτζάκης, Ε. 2015. Οδηγός χλωρίδας προστατευμένης περιοχής όρους Πάρνωνα και υγρότοπου Μουστού. Ενδημικά, σπάνια και απειλούμενα είδη. – Φορέας Διαχείρησης Όρους Πάρνωνα και Υγρότοπου Μουστού, Άστρος Αρκαδίας.

Baliusis, E. & Tan, K. 2012. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 20. – Phytol. Balcanica 18(3): 333-373.

Biel, B. & Tan, K. 2009. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 12. – Phytol. Balcanica 15(3): 431-452.

Dimopoulos, P. 1993. Chloridiki kai phitokinoniki ereuna tou orous Killini- Oikologiki prosegisi- [In Greek]. – Patra: Ph.D. thesis, University of Patra. 

Dimitrellos, G. & Christodoulakis, D. 1995. The flora of Mt. Timfristos (NW Sterea Ellas, Greece). – Fl. Medit. 5: 9-51.

Fakas, G., Korakis, A. & Alexiou, S. 2014. Colchicum atticum (Colchicaceae), a new taxon for Samos island, Greece. – Parnassiana Archives 2: 55-59.

Giannopoulos, K., Tan, K. & Vold, G. 2011. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 16. – Phytol. Balcanica 17(2): 247-264.

Goula, K. & Konsoulas, G. 2016. Colchicum chimonanthum (Colchicaceae): confirmation of old reports and discovery of new populations. – Parnassiana Archives 4: 23-26. 

Karidas, A., Giannakis, T. & Antonopoulos, Z. 2017. A new locality of Colchicum soboliferum (Colchicaceae) from Macedonia, Greece. – Parnassiana Archives 5: 57-59.

Kit, T. & Vold, G. 2006. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 1. – Phytol. Balcanica 12(1): 107-128.  

Kit, T., Vold, G. & Sfikas, G. 2006. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 3. – Phytol. Balcanica 12(3): 413- 440.  

Kokmotos, E. & Georgiadis, Th. 2005. The flora of Mountain Elikon, Xerovouni and Neraidolakkoma (Boeotia, Sterea Ellas, Greece). – Fl. Medit. 15: 403-451.

Kougioumoutzis, K., Tiniakou, A., Georgiadis, T. & Georgiou, O. 2012. Contribution to the flora of the south Aegean Volcanic Arc: the Methana peninsula (Saronic gulf, Greece). – Edinb. J. Bot. 69 (1): 53-81.

Maroulis & Artelari 2001. New records to the flora of Mt. Erimanthos (NW Peloponnisos, Greece). – Fl. Medit. 11. 311-331.

Nerantzis, X., Koudros, V. & Alexiou, S. 2014. New localities for Colchicum atticum (Colchicaceae), from NE Greece. – Parnassiana Archives 2: 53-54. 

Polymenakos, K. & Tan, K. 2016. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 31. – Phyol. Balcanica 22 (3): 429-467.

Trigas, P. & Iatrou, G. 2006. The local endemic flora of Evvia (W Aegean, Greece). – Willdenowia 36: 257-270.

Zarkos, G., Christodoulou, V., Kit, T. & Vold, G. 2015. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 28. – Phytol. Balcanica 21 (3): 367-399.

Zarkos, G., Christodoulou, V., Kit, T. & Vold, G. 2016. In: Vladimirov et al. New floristic records in the Balkans: 31. – Phytol. Balcanica 22 (3): 429-467. 

Zervou, S., Raus, T. & Yannitsaros, A. 2009. Additions to the flora of the island of Kalimnos (SE Aegean, Greece). – Willdenowia 39: 165-177.