Nottingham autumn crocus Crocus nudiflorus is an autumn flowering bulb, native to Southern France and Northern Spain, especially the Pyrenean area, where it is found in meadows and open woodland.
Nottingham spring crocus Crocus vernus is a native of the Balkan region of the former Yugoslavia. In Nottingham, both species of crocus are regarded as ancient introductions, as the plants become naturalised before 1500. Both species have a wide but scattered distribution in the UK. They were probably introduced for medicinal or culinary reasons, and the distribution of both is strongly associated with former Monasteries. It is believed that one use of the plants was to treat malaria, which was endemic in Britain at the time, especially areas of extensive wetlands such as the Trent Valley.
In Nottinghamshire both species were abundant in meadows alongside the Trent, particularly in the Wilford and Dunkirk areas. Due to development in the late Victorian and early 20th Century, many of these meadows were lost. Both species now occur in small-scattered populations, within the cemeteries, parks, golf courses, meadows, old gardens and public open space in this area.
The Nottingham autumn crocus is unusual for species of crocus in that it has underground stems along which new corms are produced. This feature allows identification of the autumn crocus in the non-flowering state. The tall purple flowers are produced in mid August to September, hence its name the autumn crocus, with the leaves appearing the following spring. Flowering decreases as the density of corms increases and therefore, the number of flowering spikes is not a reliable indicator of actual population. It is poisonous to livestock.
The Nottingham spring crocus is genetically variable and the flowers of the naturalised populations are often composed of a range of different colour and combinations of white through to purple. In horticulture, it is known as the Dutch crocus and a number of named varieties have been bred.
Rememberance Sunday is here in the UK is the closest Sunday to 11 November. This years it is the actual day. In most towns and cities veterans will march and lay wreaths of poppies in rememberance on our war memorials. London hosts the largest and main parade of rememberance with leaders of the government, the Royal family and representatives of the commonwealth nations laying their wreaths at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in London, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" or a monument. The Cenotaph in Victoria Park in London Ontario looks very similar.
The rememberance Poppy has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem 'In The Fields of Flanders' Its opening refer to the poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the earth of soldiers' graves in Flanders after the battles.
In 1918 Moina Michael who worked for the YWCA vowed to wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the war. She then campaigned to have the poppy adopted as a national symbol of remembrance in the USA. In 1921 she sent her poppy sellers to London, where they were adopted by Field Marshal Douglas Haig who was a founder of the Royal British Legion. It was also adopted in the British Commonwealth countries Australia, Canada and New Zealand whose own soldiers also fought alongside the British in the trenches.
Today, the Haig Fund support veterans from all conflicts and other military actions involving British Armed Forces up to today. Its members sell remembrance poppies in the weeks before Remembrance Day/Armistice Day.
Buy a poppy and wear it with pride and rememberance