This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Class and Order
Corolla 6-partita, aequalis. Stigmata convoluta.
CROCUS vernus foliis latioribus margine patulo. Jacq. Fl. Austr. Vol. 5. app. t. 36. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. p. 83. var. sativ.
CROCUS vernus latifolius. Bauh. Pin. 65, 66.
The Yellow Crocus. Parkins. Parad. p. 166.
Linnaeus considers the Crocus, or Saffron of the shops, which blows invariably in the autumn, and the spring Crocus, with its numerous varieties (of which Parkinson, in his Garden of Pleasant Flowers, enumerates no less than twenty-seven) as one and the same species; other Botanists have considered them as distinct, particularly Prof. Jacquin, whose opinion on this subject we deem the most decisive.
We have figured the yellow variety, which is the one most commonly cultivated in our gardens, though according to the description in the Flora Austriaca, the Crocus vernus, in its wild state, is usually purple or white.
The cultivation of this plant is attended with no difficulty; in a light sandy loam, and dry situation, the roots thrive, and multiply so much as to require frequent reducing; they usually flower about the beginning of March, and whether planted in rows, or patches, on the borders of the flower-garden, or mixed indiscriminately with the herbage of the lawn, when expanded by the warmth of the sun, they produce a most brilliant and exhilirating effect.
The most mischievous of all our common birds, the sparrow, is very apt to commit great depredations amongst them when in flower, to the no small mortification of those who delight in their culture; we have succeeded in keeping these birds off, by placing near the object to be preserved, the skin of a cat properly stuffed: a live cat, or some bird of the hawk kind confined in a cage, might perhaps answer the purpose more effectually, at least in point of duration.