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Toxic parts

The following reports are for C. sativus. They quite possibly also apply to this species. The plant is poisonous[1]. The plant is perfectly safe in normal usage but 5 - 10 grams of saffron has been known to cause death[2].

Edible uses


This species has been used as a saffron substitute[3]. The following notes are for the genuine saffron, C. sativus:-

The flower styles are used as a flavouring and yellow colouring for various foods such as bread, soups, sauces, rice and puddings[4][5][6][7][1][8][9][10]. Extremely rich in riboflavin[11]. Water soluble[12]. Yields per plant are extremely low, about 4000 stigmas yield 25g of saffron[13]. Saffron is the world's most expensive spice, it takes 150,000 flowers and 400 hours work to produce 1 kilo of dried saffron[14]. About 25 kilos of styles can be harvested from a hectare of the plant[5].

The flower styles are used as a tea substitute[10].

Unknown part

Material uses

The yellow dye obtained from the stigmas has been used for many centuries to colour cloth[5][6][7][1]. It is the favoured colouring for the cloth of Indian swamis who have renounced the material world. A blue or green dye is obtained from the petals[15].

Unknown part


Medicinal uses(Warning!)

This species has been used as a saffron substitute[3]. The following notes are for the genuine saffron, C. sativus:- Saffron is a famous medicinal herb with a long history of effective use[5][6]. The flower styles and stigmas are the parts used, but since these are very small and fiddly to harvest they are very expensive and consequently often adulterated by lesser products[6]. They are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative and stimulant[5][6][1][16][17][18]. They are used as a diaphoretic for children and to treat chronic haemorrhages in the uterus of adults[5]. A dental analgesic is obtained from the stigmas[6]. The styles are harvested in the autumn when the plant is in flower and are dried for later use[5], they do not store well and should be used within 12 months[14]. This remedy should be used with caution[1], large doses can be narcotic[19] and quantities of 10g or more can cause an abortion[18].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light sandy soil in pots in a cold frame[20]. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in early spring[20]. Sow thinly because the seed usually germinates freely[20], within 1 - 6 months at 18°c[21]. Unless the seed has been sown too thickly, do not transplant the seedlings in their first year of growth, but give them regular liquid feeds to make sure they do not become deficient. Divide the small bulbs once the plants have died down, planting 2 - 3 bulbs per 8cm pot. Grow them on for another 2 years in a greenhouse or frame and plant them out into their permanent positions when dormant in late summer[K]. Plants take 3 - 4 years to flower from seed[3]. Division of the clumps after the leaves die down in spring[20][3]. The bulbs can be replanted direct into their permanent positions if required.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Crocus nudiflorus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a well-drained sandy or loamy soil that is free from clay[11]. Prefers some shade from the hottest sun in summer and at least a modicum of moisture during its summer dormancy[3]. Succeeds in grass, so long as this is not mown until the leaves die down, it also grows well under deep-rooting deciduous trees and shrubs[3]. It can also be grown with very low shallow-rooting groundcover plants such as lawn camomile (Chamaemelum nobile 'Treneague')[3].

Plants are very frost hardy[11]. Plants tend to move considerably from their original planting place because of their means of vegetative reproduction, it is therefore wise not to grow different species in close proximity[20]. The corms should be planted about 5 - 8cm deep in the soil[3]. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer[22]. Plants take 4 - 5 years to come into flowering from seed.

The flowers are only open during the day time, closing at night[22].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Crocus nudiflorus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Crocus nudiflorus.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Crocus nudiflorus
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    2. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    5. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    7. ? Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    9. ? 9.09.1 Harrison. S. Wallis. M. Masefield. G. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press (1975-00-00)
    10. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    11. ? ? The Plantsman. Vol. 9. 1986 - 1987. Royal Horticultural Society (1986-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
    14. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    17. ? 17.017.1 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    18. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    20. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    21. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)

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    Facts about "Crocus nudiflorus"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyIridaceae +
    Belongs to genusCrocus +
    Has binomial nameCrocus nudiflorus +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +
    Has edible useColouring +, Condiment + and Tea +
    Has fertility typeBees + and Butterflies +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useDye +
    Has mature height0.2 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnodyne +, Antispasmodic +, Aphrodisiac +, Appetizer +, Carminative +, Diaphoretic +, Emmenagogue +, Expectorant + and Sedative +
    Has search namecrocus nudiflorus +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral +, Alkaline + and Very alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameCrocus nudiflorus +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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