Colchicum luteum Baker in Gard. Chron. 7:34. 1874. Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6:356.1892; Bamber, Pl. Punj. 444.1916; Coventry, Wild Fl. Kashm. 1:101. t. 50.1923; Cherny in Komarov, Fl. URSS. 4:28.1935; Mehra & Khoshoo in J. Pharmacy and Pharmacol. 3:486.1951; R.R. Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. and Kashm. 50.1972.
Vern.: ‘Surinjan talakh’.
Corm ovoid, oblong, 1.5-3.5 x 1-2 cm, flattened at the base, longitudinal groove on one side; coat brown to dark-brown, membranous. Leaves 3-6, appearing at flowering time, linear to broadly linear, 10-20 x 0.5-2 cm, apex obtuse. Flowers yellow, infundibuliform, 3-4 cm across. Tepals 6, united below into a long, narrow tube, up to 9 cm long; segments linear to oblanceolate, 2-3 cm long, acute to obtuse. Stamens 6, attached at the base of the perianth segments, included; filaments 4-5 mm long; anthers yellow, linear, 1-1.5 cm long, basifixed. Ovary superior, trilocular; styles 3, filiform, longer than the stamens; stigma minute. Ovules many. Fruit capsular, ovoid, up to 3 cm long, dehiscence septicidal with recurved beaks; seeds numerous, globose, 2 mm in diameter.
Fl. Per.: February to May depending on the altitude.
Type locality: Described from Kashgar, Central Asia.
Distribution: Central Asia, Afghanistan, Himalayas in Pakistan and India.
An early flowering species, soon after the snow melts. Fairly common from 1500 to 3000 m altitude. The seeds and the corm contain the alkaloid, Colchicine, which is used in medicine to relieve pain and inflamation and in plant breeding work to induce doubling of chromosomes.