Blue Chilean Crocus Facts
- First of all, despite the name, the quite beautiful Blue Chilean Crocus isn’t actually a crocus at all. Botanists actually classify this remarkable species as a member of a rather different family of flowering plants.
- Yet none can deny the delicate beauty of its blooms, regardless of its classification. Sadly, however, this same beauty consequently contributed to its near extinction in the wild, due to extensive over collecting.
- Partially due to this over collecting, the plant was believed extinct in the wild, until its rediscovery in 2001. Over grazing and general habitat loss also played a role in its near demise in the wild. Yet, only a few apparently remain in the wild.
- While naturally occurring individuals near extinction, the species abounds in cultivation around the world. That’s because this beautiful plant has become very popular in numerous countries for landscaping and greenhouses.
Blue Chilean Crocus Physical Description
While not actually a crocus, the stunning Blue Chilean Crocus remains classified as a flowering perennial. In addition, this small plant produces stems that average 4 in (10 cm) in height. Each of these develops 1-3 leaves that grow relatively long and elongated. They average 4 in (10 cm) in length, and 0.4 in (1 cm) in width, and display a bright green color. Yet the flowers themselves rank as the most noteworthy feature of the species. These grow in a trumpet shape, and may be either pale blue, deep blue, or even purple. Yet the fruit appears as a tiny, rounded capsule, and contains only a few, very small seeds. In addition, these often fall on solid rock, and never germinate.
Species: T. cyanocrocus
Blue Chilean Crocus Habitat and Ecology
First of all, the Blue Chilean Crocus only grows only in the country of Chile. And even there it currently now exists only in a few scattered locations. This rare species naturally only inhabits a range restricted to altitudes ranging between 6,600 and 9,800 ft ( 2,000-3,000 m). Furthermore, this range comprises extremely stony slopes in the Andes Mountains. In its native habitat range, it blooms between October and November. However, natural propagation remains sparse, due to the nature of the environment and the tiny seed count per plant. Yet, in cultivation, horticulturists accomplish this rather easily via the corms the plant produces. In its native range, its primary threats include habitat loss and climate change. Finally, blooming typically requires about 5 years of growth.
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Todd Sain Sr.