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Gazania Species
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The crocus is a genus of perennial flowering plants. They belong to the family Iridadeae. The flowers of crocus are cup-shaped, solitary, slaver form flowers taper off into a narrow tube and seen facing upwards. The plants start from a short underground growth, known as corms and are mostly hardy perennials and are found surplus in habitats such as woodlands, scrub and meadows. Crocuses are the late-winter bulbs, which are turned out to be the first blossoms of spring. They are very popular for their colors. They are of a wide range of colors. The lilac, mauve, yellow and white are the most usual colors and sometimes attractively striped. They have grass like leaves; generally have a white central stripe along the leaf axis, upon which the flowers appear from late winter to early spring.
Cultivation : The crocuses are very easily grown in large areas of central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, across Central Asia to western China. There are five main varieties cultivated. They are in need of sunny, well-drained area, though a few prefer shades in moist soils. Some are suitable for naturalizing grass. The corms must be planted 2 to 4 inches deep, 3 to 5 inches apart; in heavy soils a quantity of sharp grit should be dug in to improve drainage. Crocuses typically have three stamens. The leaves and flowers of crocuses are protected from being frozen by a waxy cuticle.
Propagation : The propagation of the crocus is not a complicated job. The crocuses are propagated by two methods; they are by division and by seed. Propagation by division is the easiest method. It is very simple that, after some years the clumps can be dug up in the autumn and the bulbs are divided and replanted. Propagation by seed can be done by the following method. Some species of the crocus will seed freely around the garden. Seeds are collected from the plants and they are sown in well-drained compost when the seeds are ripe. Species of crocus must produce plants that are true from seed. Most of the species usually flower three years after sowing. Both the methods of propagation are followed nowadays, though the method of propagation by division is easier. Both of them produce good results.
Varieties : There are about eighty of species of crocuses, in which about thirty are cultivated. There are mainly five species which represents the cultivated varieties. They are Crocus vernus, Crocus chrysanthus, Crocus flavus, Crocus sieberi and Crocus tommasinianus. The hybrids of Crocus vernus, commonly known as the Dutch hybrids consists of large flowers of size ranging from 2 to 3 inches, in the early spring. Crocus chrysanthus, commonly known as winter-flowering crocuses offer a wide range of colors. These are the very early flowering versions of the spring crocuses. When compared to the Dutch hybrids, winter-flowering crocuses bear smaller at the same time numerous flowers. Crocus sativus, the fall-flowering crocus, is the commercial source of saffron. Crocus tommasinianus, ‘whitewell purple’ and ‘Ruby Giant’, seed prolifically and are ideal for naturalizing. The taxonomic characteristics are mainly based on the presence and absence of a basal spathe, prophyll ant the aspect of the style and the sorm tunic. The Crocus gilanicus, discovered in 1973 and named after Gilan province in Iran where it was first found, Crocus kotschyanus, Kotschy’s crocus, Crocus serotinus, late crocus, Crocus versicolor, cloth of silver crocus, Crocus korolkowii, celandine crocus, Crocus ancyrensis, Ankara crocus, Crocus angustifolius, cloth of gold crocus, all comes under the Subgenus Crocus and Crocus banaticus comes under the Subgenus Crociris.
Disease and Cure : Crocuses are not disease prone and are fairly trouble free. Therefore maintaining crocuses are not complicated. There are certain pests that attack crocuses often. The squirrels, rabbits and rodents are the major in them. Care must be taken to prevent these pests from attacking crocuses. This can be done by placing a chicken wire over the planting area, this helps a lot. Plant the crocuses deep under the soil. This helps to prevent the squirrels attacking the plant. Quickly dipping the bulbs in paraffin prior to planting also helps from squirrels. The smell of paraffin would keep away squirrels. Thus, crocuses are not prone to disease, at the same time they might be attacked by certain pests. Therefore the crocus must be taken care, preventing attacks from pests.

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