Gardens Illustrated
Crocus angustifolius
© Richard Bloom

Crocuses or croci: what is the plural of crocus?

Published: March 9, 2022 at 9:58 am

Is the correct term for the plural of crocus crocuses or croci? Here's what we found out

They’re cropping up all over the place at the moment, brightening up lawns, adding pops of colour to borders and basking in the early spring sunshine. Crocus flowers are mostly purple, yellow or white and the corms are brilliant for naturalising in gardens, leading to the characteristic swathes that we see at this time of year.

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But what is the correct plural term for these flowers that provide blankets of colour: crocuses, or croci?

Is the plural of crocus crocuses or croci?

We asked our followers on Instagram whether they favoured crocuses or croci as the plural term for crocus, and got an amazing response.

Sixty three per cent of respondents said that crocuses is the plural of crocus, whereas 37 per cent voted for croci. One follower suggested that a collection of crocuses should be referred to as a ‘chorus’.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Barr's Purple'
Crocus tommasinianus 'Barr's Purple' © Richard Bloom

To confirm our findings, we asked our resident botanical advisor, Dr James Compton, what the correct terminology for the plural of crocus is. James told us that in Latin terms, croci would be the correct plural form. However, crocuses is also correct as the vernacular plural of crocus. It does, therefore, come down to personal choice whether you prefer a carpet of crocuses or a chorus of croci.

Crocus 'Jeanne d'Arc'
Crocus 'Jeanne d'Arc' © Richard Bloom
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Whatever you call them, these lovely plants grow best in a sunny spot, in well-drained soil. You can find small pots of them at garden centres now, or plan ahead, checking out the most attractive varieties to plant as corms in autumn. You can read more about crocus and how to grow them, plus recommended varieties to grow, in our Crocus growing guide.

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Authors

Molly Blair
Molly Blaireditorial and digital assistant

Molly is the Gardens Illustrated's editorial and digital assistant. She has a roof garden and has her RHS level 2.

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