meadow saffron

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

colchicine An alkaloid drug that is obtained from meadow saffron (see COLCHICUM). It has a disruptive effect on microtubular activity (see MICROTUBULE), though not on that of microfilaments. Thus, it affects tissue metabolism generally and mitosis in particular. It can be used to induce polyploidy in plants, because it prevents the development of the spindle and so blocks the separation of chromosomes during mitosis.

views updated

colchicine (kŏl´chəsēn´), alkaloid extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum and especially from the corms of the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale (see meadow saffron). The metabolic effect of colchicine is not known, but it is thought that it may decrease production of lactic acid and prevent accumulation of uric acid crystals in the body, making it useful in the treatment of gout. Colchicine and derivatives such as demecolcine inhibit mitosis, or cell division. As a mitotic poison, it inhibits rapidly proliferating cells and has been used in cancer therapy and as an immunosuppressive drug. Colchicine has also been used to visualize chromosomes photomicrographically and to induce mutations experimentally.

views updated

meadow saffron or autumn crocus, perennial garden ornamental (Colchicum autumnale) of the family Liliaceae (lily family). Native to Europe and N Africa, it has escaped from gardens to meadows and fields in some parts of the United States. Its poisonous corms and seeds were the source of the drug colchicine. The purplish flowers, which bloom in the fall when the leaves are gone, resemble those of the true crocus and true saffron (of the iris family) but have six stamens instead of three. Other species of Colchicum are also popular garden plants. Meadow saffron is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.

views updated

colchicine An alkaloid derived from the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale. It inhibits spindle formation in cells during mitosis so that chromosomes cannot separate during anaphase, thus inducing multiple sets of chromosomes (see polyploid). Colchicine is used in genetics, cytology, and plant breeding research and also in cancer therapy to inhibit cell division.

views updated

col·chi·cum / ˈkälchikəm; ˈkälki-/ • n. (pl. colchicums) a plant of the genus Colchicum, which includes the autumn crocuses. ∎  the dried corm or seed of meadow saffron, which has analgesic properties and is used medicinally.

views updated

colchicum Genus of c.30 species of flowering plants, including C. autumnale. Species grow throughout Eurasia, and have pink, white, or purple crocus-like flowers in bloom during the autumn. The corm contains colchicine, an alkaloid used to treat rheumatism and gout. Colchicine's ability to inhibit mitosis make it a valuable immunosuppressive drug and aid to cancer research. Family Liliaceae.

views updated

Colchicum (family Liliaceae) A genus of 65 species of herbs with underground corms, occurring from the Mediterranean region to central Asia and India. C. autumnale (meadow saffron, autumn crocus) is the source of the drug colchicine.

views updated

colchicine An alkaloid isolated from the meadow saffron, or autumn crocus (Colchicum spp.). It is an old remedy for gout. It inhibits cell division, and is used in experimental horticulture to produce plants with abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

views updated

colchicine (kol-chi-seen) n. a drug obtained from the meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale), administered by mouth to relieve pain in attacks of gout and to prevent attacks of polyserositis.

views updated

colchicum genus of plants. XVI. — L. — Gr. kolkhikon, sb. use of n. of Kolkhikós pert. to Colchis, ancient name of a region east of the Black Sea.