Crocus

 

The crocuses are in bloom. The idea of blooming crocuses has sent me meandering down the Google path looking up one thing and then inspired to follow another. I’ll share a bit of my mindless travels brought to me by the spring air and sounds of lawn mowers.

Crocus (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.

I had always assumed that Crocus were from England, as are so many of our lovely flowers. Where did Crocus come about their name? Google doesn’t say much.

In Classical mythology, Crocus (Greek: ??????) was a mortal youth who, because they were unhappy with his love affair with Smilax, was turned by the gods into a plant bearing his name, the crocus (saffron). Smilax is believed to have been given a similar fate and transformed into bindweed.

In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes and was accidentally killed by the god in a game of discus. Hermes was so distraught at this that he transformed Crocus’ body into a flower. The myth is similar to that of Apollon and Hyacinthus, and may indeed be a variation thereof.

In his translation of Nonnos’ Dionysiaca, W.H.D. Rouse describes the tale of Crocus as being from the late Classical period and little-known.

Interesting that in the first story a love is involved, it seems that is often the case with mythology.


Crocus. (2014, December 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:27, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crocus&oldid=637228891

Crocus (mythology). (2015, January 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:28, January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crocus_(mythology)&oldid=640907783

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