Crocus in Spring

Three hundred years ago Gerard wrote of the crocus, 
' It hath floures of a most perfect shining yellow colour, 
seeming afar off to be a hot glowing coal of fire. That 
pleasant plant was sent unto me from Robinius of Paris, 
that painful and most curious searcher of simples.' Is 
there any other flower which so wonderfully gives us at 
least a faint idea of the meaning of the words, ' And the 
streets of the city were pure gold like as it were trans- 
parent glass ' ? Crocuses are indeed amongst the loveliest 
and most gladsome of spring flowers. Each crocus cup is 
not only of exceeding beauty, but within its petals it 
seems to hold the quintessence of sunlight in luminous 
gold, and their scent is the scent of sunlight. Many years 
ago that great flower-lover, Mr. Forbes Watson, wrote of 
them, * Whilst the Snowdrop enters with so quiet a 
footstep that it might almost pass unobserved amidst 
the remnants of the melting snow, the Crocus bursts 
upon us in a blaze of colour like the sun-rise of the 
flowers. . . . Though at first sight apparently alike in 
colour, close attention will show that the inner segments 
are of deeper hue and more distinctly orange than the 
outer. But we must carefully observe the colour itself. 
Like most things that are very beautiful it varies greatly 
in different aspects ; the petals to a careless eye, and 
especially in a dull light, may seem but a surface of glossy 
orange. Yet look carefully and they are lighted with rosy 
reflections, pencilled with delicate streaks and nerves of 
shade and, above all, bestrewed with little gleaming points, 
a host of microscopic stars, which cast a fiery sheen like 
that of the forked feathers of the Bar-tailed Humming- 
bird, as if the surface were engrained with dust of amber 
or gold.' 
Crocus by Eleanor Sinclair Rodhe