Merendera persica sensu Hook. f.
Corm ovoid; sheath dark reddish-brown, neck long. Leaves 2-6, appearing with the flowers, linear, acute, 2-5 cm long at the flowering stage, up to 12 cm at the fruiting stage. Scape covered by leaf sheath, buried in the ground. Flowers 1-3; perianth white to pale purple, segments split to the base, lanceolate, acute, claw longer than the blade; perianth tube short, surrounded by leaf sheaths. Stamens 6, attached at the base of the perianth; anthers linear, up to 1 cm long, basifixed, greenish; filaments as long as or slightly shorter than the anthers. Ovary 3-locular; styles 3, filiform. Fruit capsular, ovoid with recurved beaks. Seeds numerous, globose.
Fl.Per.: Late January-February.
Type: Described from a cultivated specimen collected by Aitchison at Jhelum (K).
Distribution: Afghanistan, Pakistan.
A fairly common plant in the Margalla Hills and the Salt Range during the early spring season. The plant, like Colchicum luteum, also contains Colchicine.
There is some disagreement whether Merendera should be included in Colchicum or not. It has been included here as the splitting of the perianth to the base in Merendera is not enough of a difference to keep the 2 genera apart.
Colohicum aitchisonii may be the same as Merendera robusta Bge. from C. Asia but not having seen any authentic specimen of Merendera robusta, Colohicum aitchisonii is recognised here as a distinct taxon.