News and Events

Pink Autumn Crocus (Zephyranthes carinata)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bold and beautiful blooms delight the eye and hidden gems foster the thrill of discovery at the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden.

Visitors passing through the Sukiyamon (Japanese gate) are greeted by fabulous blue and white Agapanthus (lily of the Nile), stunning Day lilies and serene water lilies.  Sharp eyes will also spot the tiny purple flowers of the Liriopes, the red fruits hidden amongst the leaves of the Pomegranate growing in the Sensory Gardens, and with a little bit of luck, the enigmatic Zephyranthes carinata (Pink Autumn Crocus).

The delicate and pretty Pink Autumn Crocus is much shyer than its flamboyant cousin, the Agapanthus. It belongs to the family Amaryllidaceae which has three subfamilies, the Agapanthoideae (agapanthus), Allioideae (onions and chives) and Amaryllidoideae (amaryllis, daffodils, snowdrops, autumn crocus).

The scientific name Zephyranthes is derived from the Greek “Zephyrus”, the god of the west wind, and “anthos”, meaning flower, referring to the slender stalks. Zephyrus was said to be the most gentle of the Greek Anemoi (the wind gods) and according to legend had many lovers. His children included the two immortal horses Balius and Xanthus which belonged to Achilles.

The Pink Autumn Crocus is a perennial flowering plant native to Mexico, Colombia and Central America. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental and has become naturalised in many countries including north eastern Australia.

It grows from a bulb and has pink crocus-like flowers set amid a mass of dark green tubular leaves.  It grows to roughly 20cm high and is poisonous if ingested.

The Pink Autumn Crocus flowers in summer and autumn. Flowering may be triggered by heavy rainfall, a characteristic that led to the plant being referred to as a “rain lily”.

The unpredictable nature of the Pink Autumn Crocus epitomises the rich experience offered by the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden. There is something new to see every day.
                                                                                                                                By Ian McAlister & Karen Hagan