Meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) is a small
herbaceous perennial plant which typically flowers in the autumn after leaves have disappeared. It produces showy pink, purple to white flowers in groups of 1 to 6 from an underground bulb. In the spring, leaves with fruit emerge and remain through July.
All parts of C. autumnale are toxic to poultry, especially the bulb and seeds. The primary toxin is colchicine, a cytotoxic alkaloid that is able to inhibit microtubule formation. The other toxins present, which are closely related to colchicine, include: desacetylmethylcolchicine, desacetylthiocolchicine, colchicoside, demethyl desacetylcolchicine.
C. autumnale is toxic in fresh or dry form. Toxic manifestations appear within 2 to 12 hours following ingestion.
- difficulty swallowing
- respiratory distress
- blue-purplish comb
- Toxic plants ASPCA (2014)
- Gabrscek, L.; Lesnicar, G.; Krivec, B.; Voga, G.; Sibanc, B.; Blatnik, J.; Jagodic, B. Accidental poisoning with autumn crocus. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol, 42(1), 85-88 (2004)
- Klintschar, M.; Beham-Schmidt, C.; Radner, H.; Henning, G.; Roll, P. Colchicine poisoning by accidental ingestion of meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale): Pathological and medicolegal aspects. Forensic Sci Int, 106(3), 191-200 (1999)
- Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp. (1985)
- Chmir, O. N.; Karmilov, V. A. [Poisoning with Colchicum autumnale.] Vrach Delo, 9 81-82 (1979)