Photographer's Note

Winter 2003, few snow on the Dolomites and all around the eastern Alps (meters of snow on the western Alps). In mid January there were crocus flowers, at least one month before than the usual blossom time, and the mounts were green and not white.

Crocus is a genus of perennial flowering plants, native to a large area from coastal and subalpine areas of central and southern Europe (including the islands of the Aegean), North Africa and the Middle East, across Central Asia to western China.
The genus Crocus is placed botanically in the iris family (Iridaceae). The plants grow from corms and are mainly hardy perennials, and are found a wide range of habitats, including woodland, scrub and meadows.
There are about eighty species of crocus (of which approximately 30 are cultivated). Their cup-shaped, solitary, salverform flowers taper off into a narrow tube. Their color varies enormously, although lilac, mauve, yellow and white are predominant. The grass-like, ensiform leaf shows generally a white central stripe along the leaf axis. The leaf margin is entire. All crocuses typically have three stamens. The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn/fall-blooming species.
The name of the genus is derived from the Greek κρόκος, krokos (attested in Homer's Iliad, Book XIV, verse 347), this in turn being a Semitic loanword (Hebrew karkom, Aramaic kurkama, Persian and Arabic kurkum, all meaning saffron or saffron yellow).

Ahrntal (Valle Aurina) is a municipality in the province of Bolzano-Bozen in the Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 120 km northeast of the city of Trento and about 70 km northeast of the city of Bolzano (Bozen), on the border with Austria. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 5,633 and an area of 187.0 km².
It's one of the northest point of Italy.

From Wikipedia

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Additional Photos by Paolo Motta (Paolo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3739 W: 144 N: 8840] (41258)
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