Plant of the Week: Miss Vain Crocus

Photo by Friends of the High LineSunbathers will flock to the 23rd Street Lawn when it opens to visitors in May. But "right now, the Lawn is covered with a different type of sunbather – the Miss Vain crocus," says High Line Gardener Maeve Turner, who works year-round to keep this space healthy.

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Bright, blooming crocuses flower in varying shades of purple, yellow and white. These tiny members of the Iris family can be a cheerful, early sign of spring or a welcome splash of color in fall. Often mistaken for bulbs, crocuses are actually diminutive perennial plants that grow from corms – modified stems that serve as underground storage organs allowing them to survive the severe heat in summer and cold in winter. They prefer full sun and well-drained moist soils and will naturalize in the garden in the right conditions. Crocuses are native to Europe and the Middle East, ranging from Italy throughout the Adriatic coastal mountains to Turkey and Iran. The name “crocus” derives from many ancient language names for this plant, which mean "saffron" – the spice saffron is harvested from the fall-flowering Crocus sativus.

This season, the High Line welcomes a new crocus with a sassy name, Crocus biflorus ‘Miss Vain.’ This fragrant beauty sweeps through the 23rd Street Lawn. It has small, white flowers with pale blue bases, prominent yellow-orange styles and dark green, and grass-like foliage with a silvery strip down the center. The flowers last only a few weeks, opening during the day and closing up each night. Hurry to the High Line to usher in spring and enjoy the crocuses!


Crocus biflorus ‘Miss Vain’ can be seen on the 23rd Street Lawn, on the High Line between West 22nd Street and West 23rd Street.

Download our March Bloom Guide.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line’s most important gardening projects — become a member of Friends of the High Line today!

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