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Crocuses: A Complete Guide to the Genus

By Jānis Rukšāns

Foreword by Brian Mathew

Opened my eyes to the richness of the genus.…in language that can be understood by the everyday gardener.


Winsome, charming, and brilliant are just three of the adjectives that crocuses typically elicit from grateful, color-starved gardeners. Indeed, few flowers can rival crocuses for the cheer they bring to the barren, late-winter garden and for the affection in which they are held by millions of gardeners. But though they’re viewed as an icon of early spring, crocuses aren’t just one-season wonders: there are also dozens of striking autumn-blooming species that appear just when they’re most needed, as summer’s flowers wind down. And because many species originate in the Mediterranean basin, they’re ideal for gardens in which summer irrigation has been reduced or eliminated.

In this comprehensive, up-to-date volume, bulb expert Jānis Rukšāns surveys all the known species in this remarkable genus, including those that have been discovered since the appearance of Brian Mathew’s 1982 monograph. A seasoned plant explorer, Rukšāns has observed many species in the wild, and so is able to offer valuable insights into how they may best be grown. He also discusses their use in the garden, their botanical characteristics, and classification—all in nonspecialist language so that even readers without a botanical background can profit by his knowledge and broad experience.

Illustrated with 300 stunning photographs, this book will be indispensable for all those with a serious interest in crocuses, from collectors and bulb enthusiasts to nursery professionals and garden designers.

Media reviews

"Opened my eyes to the richness of the genus. [Rukšāns] wrote Crocuses in language that can be understood by the everyday gardener."

—Kylee Baumle, Horticulture

"This is the kind of gardening book that makes my garden-geeky heart beat faster."

—Kathy Purdy, Cold Climate Gardening

"This is a botanically-minded gardener's view of crocuses. ... Jānis has the advantage over all his predecessors of having seen the vast majority of the plants he describes in the wild. This gives him a unique perspective into variation within the genus, and within species."

—John Grimshaw, John Grimshaw's Garden Diary

About the author

Jānis Rukšāns

Jānis Rukšāns has been growing bulbs since age twelve and since 1991 has operated his own bulb nursery in his native Latvia, specializing in rare and unusual bulbs. He has taken part in several expeditions searching for new bulbs throughout Europe and Central Asia.

Read more about Jānis Rukšāns

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