Meadow Saffron

It’s that time of year again. The crocuses (or croci, technically) are pushing through the sod giving us a lovely autumnal burst of colour. Hold on, the crocus flowers in the spring, so what’s this? It is meadow saffron, sometimes called naked lady and it is an interesting picture of deceit. It’s not a crocus, though it resembles one. It isn’t a source of saffron, either; that comes from the real crocus. Whereas the latter is edible, every part of meadow saffron is toxic, containing high levels of colchicine. Its ‘nakedess' comes from its unusual habit of producing its flower without its leaves. So it just appears to be a series of purple blooms popping up from the ground, without a plant attached to them. Again, this is the impression it gives, but it isn't quite the case. 

The Bible urges us to watch out for falsehood. Gospel truth must compete with fanciful and dangerous counterfeits. Its bright light must contend with the dimmer glows of alternative religions. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:24: 

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 

These false Christs and false prophets presumably look and sound like the real thing. They knock on our doors holding Bibles. They have YouTube channels discussing the Holy Spirit. They are respected by the world, to which they offer inspirational platitudes of peace and brotherhood. But like the autumn crocus, they are highly toxic. Of such, beware.  


Colchicum autumnale is only a useful picture of deceit; in its own right, it is a beautiful flower which the Creator gave us to admire and enjoy. And that colchicine which can prove so dangerous is a treatment for gout in sufficiently mild quantities. Furthermore, it is a native British plant, not some hybrid or foreign import. Beware of deceit, but enjoy the flower.