The Colours of Spring
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Crocus, Highbury Park, Birmingham
The warm sunshine really opened up the crocuses in Highbury Park this afternoon. Every year they put on a spectacular display, creating drifts of colour under the leafless trees. They are a vivid signal that winter is coming to an end. This year they have survived the rains and appeared heroically out of the mud.

Crocus is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Iris family. They grow from corms and are one of the earliest flowering plants in the garden. The flowers are upward facing and cup shaped and open to the sun. TThe cup-shaped flowers of the crocus are upward-facing and come in many different colours from white to golden yellow to purple. Crocus flowers are very attractive to bees and so provide a valuable source of food at a time of year when it is scarce.

Crocus sativus is an autumn flowering species. Its three deep red stamens produce one of the most expensive spices in the world – saffron. It takes around 75,000 flowers to produce half a kilogram of saffron.