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Uses

Toxic parts

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

Notes

The flower styles are commonly used as a flavouring and yellow colouring for various foods such as bread, soups, sauces, rice and puddings[3][4][5][6][1][7][8][9]. They are an essential ingredient of many traditional dishes such as paella, bouillabaisse, risotto milanese and various other Italian dishes[10]. The styles are 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[4]. Fortunately, only very small quantities of the herb are required to impart their colour and flavour to dishes[10]. Because of the cost, saffron is frequently adulterated with cheaper substitutes such as marigold flowers and safflower[10].

The flower styles are used as a tea substitute[9].

Root - cooked[9]. The corms are toxic to young animals[15] so this report of edibility should be treated with some caution[K].

Unknown part

Material uses

The yellow dye obtained from the stigmas has been used for many centuries to colour cloth[4][5][6][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[16].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Saffron is a famous medicinal herb with a long history of effective use, though it is little used at present because cheaper and more effective herbs are available[4][5][17]. 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[5]. The styles and stigmas are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative and stimulant[4][5][1][18][19][15]. They are used as a diaphoretic for children, to treat chronic haemorrhages in the uterus of adults, to induce menstruation, treat period pains and calm indigestion and colic[4][17]. A dental analgesic is obtained from the stigmas[5]. The styles are harvested in the autumn when the plant is in flower and are dried for later use[4], 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[20] and quantities of 10g or more can cause an abortion[15].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - according to some reports this species is a sterile triploid and so does not produce fertile seed[21][14]. However, if seed is obtained then it is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[22]. Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame[22]. Germination can take 1 - 6 months at 18°c[23]. 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]. It takes 3 years for plants to flower from seed[10]. Division of the clumps in late summer after the plant has died down[22][4][6]. The bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

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



Cultivation

Prefers a well-drained sandy or loamy soil that is free from clay[11]. Prefers a sunny position[14]. Grows well on calcareous soils[7] and on hot sheltered stony banks[24].

Plants are very frost hardy[11]. They also thrive in areas with poor summers, though they usually fail to flower in such conditions[14]. Plants produce less saffron when grown on rich soils[11]. They do not flower very freely in Britain[21]. Saffron has been cultivated for over 4,000 years for the edible dye obtained from the flower stigmas[22]. It was at one time commercially grown in Britain and the town Saffron Walden obtained its name because of this. There is at least one named form. 'Cashmirianus' comes from Kashmir and has large high quality corms. It yields about 27 kilos of rich orange stigmas per hectare[9]. When inhaled near to, the flowers have a delicate perfume[25]. Unlike most members of this genus, the flowers do not close of a night time or in dull weather[25]. The flowers are only produced after hot, dry summers[25]. 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[22]. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer[25].

Plants take 4 - 5 years to come into flowering from seed.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Crocus sativus. 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 sativus.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Crocus sativus
Genus
Crocus
Family
Iridaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    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.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    ?
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.61.7 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. ? 3.03.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    4. ? 4.004.014.024.034.044.054.064.074.084.094.10 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.65.75.8 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    8. ? 8.08.1 Harrison. S. Wallis. M. Masefield. G. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press (1975-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.4 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.4 ? 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. ? 14.014.114.214.314.414.514.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.215.315.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    19. ? 19.019.1 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 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)
    21. ? 21.021.1 Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30253-1 (1989-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.122.222.322.4 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    23. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
    24. ? Grey. C. H. Hardy Bulbs. Williams & Norgate. (1938-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.125.225.3 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    26. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)

    "image:Crocus sativus1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Crocus sativus"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyIridaceae +
    Belongs to genusCrocus +
    Has binomial nameCrocus sativus +
    Has common nameSaffron +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part + and Root +
    Has edible useColouring +, Condiment +, Unknown use + and Tea +
    Has fertility typeBees + and Butterflies +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone6 +
    Has imageCrocus sativus1.jpg +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useDye +
    Has mature height0.1 +
    Has mature width0.1 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAbortifacient +, Anodyne +, Antispasmodic +, Aphrodisiac +, Appetizer +, Carminative +, Diaphoretic +, Emmenagogue +, Expectorant +, Narcotic +, Sedative + and Stimulant +
    Has primary imageCrocus sativus1.jpg +
    Has search namecrocus sativus + and saffron +
    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 sativus +
    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 +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus +, Crocus sativus + and Crocus sativus +