The medicinal uses of this plant have not changed over the millennia- it is still used for the treatment of gout and joint pain. Modern medicine is researching its potential as an anti-cancer drug. As with many medicinal plants, the genus is extremely toxic and should never be confused, despite its common names, for the autumn-flowering Saffron Crocus, Crocus sativus. The stamens of the latter are an astronomically expensive condiment. In Crocus species there are only three stamens whereas Colchicum species have six.
Amaryllis belladonna is flowering now on the family beds. In its native South Africa it is known as the March Lily, reflecting the Southern hemisphere month of its flowering. But the lack of accompanying foliage gives it another common name - 'Naked Ladies.' Now, it is worth pointing out that Amaryllis belladonna belongs to an entirely different family from Colchicum. Unlike Colchicum, it does not contain the active chemical Colchicine and has no application in the treatment of gout or in cancer research. This, of course, is an example of the confusion that scientific names were coined to avoid.