Colchicum melanthioides, in Afrikaans the patrysblom (partridge flower), is a small cormous perennial with a very short single stem; the flowerhead is presented upon the leaves at or very close to ground level. The origin of the Afrikaans common name of patrysblom is uncertain. It may either relate to resemblance in the bracts of the speckled breasts of francolins or these birds’ supposed habit of scratching out the corms in search of food.
Melas means black or dark in Greek, referring to the flowerhead’s nearly black colour at the end of its cycle. This species has leaves and flowers simultaneously in spring, while some others in this genus produce flowers and leaves in separate seasons (Manning, 2009; Germishuizen and Fabian, 1982).