Colchicum is a genus of cormous perennials, their family known as Colchicaceae.
The plants mostly have deep-seated, asymmetrical corms covered in dark, hard tunics. New corms grow as lateral bulges, the tunics extending in folds and the roots emerging below in a fan-shape. Most species have short stems, almost no stems or underground ones. The new shoots often form long necks of tubular sheaths.
Two or more lance-shaped, oval or linear leaves ending in acutely pointed tips are grown, often spreading on the ground. The leaves are channelled, sheathing at the base. Stemless species have ground-level leaves with sessile flowers between.
One to several flowers form the inflorescence, surrounded by variously shaped, sometimes petal-like and colourful bracts that may conceal the flowers. The white, pink or greenish perianth segments (or tepals) are free. The upper tepal part is often cup-shaped to ovate with pointed tip, the lower part narrowed into a claw.
There is a pair of nectaries, swollen at the petal base above the claw. The six stamens arise from the petal claw, exserted in some species. The superior, three-loculed ovary is ovoid and deeply furrowed and mostly underground. There is a style ending in a minute stigma on each of the three ovary locules.
Rodents play an important role in pollination of many of the species.
The fruit capsule displays its three locules separated by furrows and topped by tapering style-base remains. The globose seeds are angular and warty.
There are 160 Colchicum species, mainly in western Asia, southern Europe and around the Mediterranean, 28 of them occurring in southern Africa. Many species previously known as Androcymbium now form part of the Colchicum genus.
The plant in picture is Colchicum scabromarginatum (Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Manning, 2009; Wikipedia).