Autumn colchicum – autumn flowers (harvesting and storage)

Name: Autumn colchicum – autumn colchicum (harvesting and storage)

Autumn colchicum -Colchicum autumnale L. The Ukrainian name is autumn flowers, popular names are autumn, wild shapran.


Liliaceae family – Liliaceae.

Corms are used for medicinal purposes.

It is found in Transcarpathia, the low mountains of the Carpathians, the Carpathians and Bukovina. It grows in meadows, among rare shrubs and sparse forests, in old gardens with soddy soil. The main thickets are concentrated in the basins of the Prut and Tisza rivers, where they often occupy tens of hectares. Preparations are possible in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Transcarpathian regions.

Stocks of raw materials are relatively large (several tons of corms can be harvested annually), but intensive grazing and plowing of meadows lead to a gradual decrease in stocks. The plant is included in the “Red Book” of the Soviet Union and the “Red Book” of Ukraine.

Autumn colchicum is a perennial tuber-bulbous plant. In autumn (September – October), a short shoot with two sheaths grows from the apical bud, with rudiments of leaves and flowers. The flowers are large, pink-lilac. Parts within the flower bed are broadly or oblong-elliptical, obtuse, 3-4 (up to 6) cm long and 6-12 (up to 15) mm wide. Stamens 6 with elongated orange-yellow anthers, columns 3 with club-shaped stigmas. Elongated-lanceolate, flat, obtuse leaves (there are 3-8 of them in a plant) develop in spring (April-May). At the same time, fruits are formed – boxes, oblong-oval, leathery, 3-5 cm long. Seeds are numerous, round-ovate, dark brown, slightly wrinkled. Blooms in September – October. The fruits ripen in June – July of the next year. In July, the above-ground parts completely die off. The plant is poisonous.

Corms are harvested in autumn, at the beginning of flowering (September-early October), digging them with shovels. Then, cutting off the aerial parts and roots, the corms are quickly washed in cold water and cut into pieces. They are used fresh.

According to FS 42-542-72, raw materials should consist of hard, heavy corms up to 7 cm long and up to 6 cm in diameter, covered with a brown-brown membranous skin; in section they are white, unstratified. The smell is weak, unpleasant. Taste is not defined. Humidity is not standardized, but the surface of the bulbs must be dry. In raw materials, no more than 20% of damaged bulbs, 1% of mineral impurities are allowed.

Raw materials are packed in boxes with holes in the walls of 20 kg with the inscription “Poisonous”. Stored in a group of toxic raw materials in dry, cool, well-ventilated areas, stacking boxes in one row. Storage period up to three months.

Corms contain alkaloids – colchamine (it should contain at least 0.03% in raw materials) and colchicine. Kolhamin is used in the form of omain ointment for the treatment of exogenous and endogenous forms of skin cancer, as well as an anti-gout agent. Colchicine is used to obtain polyploid forms of plants.

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