Botanical Features of Saffron

crocus sativus



Saffron, Crocus Sativus L, is a low ornamental plant with grass-like leaves and large lily-shaped flowers, inhabiting the European continent, and frequently cultivated for the sake of the red stigmas, which are the part used in medicine, in domestic economy and in the arts.

The Arabs, who introduced the cultivation of the Saffron Crocus into Spain as an article of commerce, bequeathed to us its modern title of Zaffer, or 'Saffron,' but the Greeks and Romans called it Krokos and Karkom respectively.

In Italy its cultivation was introduced at the end of the 14th century by a monk called Domenico Santucci in an area of the region of Abruzzo called Navelli where it is still cultivated nowadaysIn the National Park of Circeo a form of Crocus Sativus is known in the wild state (Var. Orsinii), which may be regarded as the Italian form. It nearly resembles the cultivated type in purplish colour and habit, but the stigmas are erect and do not hang out between the segments of the perianth, as in the cultivated plant. Furthermore, the wild Crocus flowers in early Spring and not in the Autumn.