E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Meadow saffron (Colchicum Autumnale). Called naked because, like the almond, peach, etc., the flowers come out before the leaves. It is poetically called the leafless orphan of the year, the flowers being orphaned or destitute of foliage. Some call it
Naked Boy, and the Naked Boy Courts of London were places where meadow saffron was sold.