Crocuses – Incredible Stigmas

Crocus flower

 

I am sure that you will have been admiring the Crocuses which are out in flower at the moment in many of the parks. As lovely as the petals are, its the vibrant orange stigmas which really attract me to the plant.

The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of a crocus. The saffron crocus, Crocus sativus, is unknown in the wild but likely descends from Crocus cartwrightianus,  which originated in Crete. Hence saffron was first cultivated in Greece, and it has been used and traded for over four millennia.  Frescos illustrating crocuses can still be seen at Knossos. 

Today Iran accounts for around 90 percent of the world production of saffron. As each flower’s stigmas need to be collected by hand, and there are only a few per flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. 

Remarkably, saffron will grow very well in the UK! So fill up those window boxes with saffron crocuses, enjoy a beautiful floral display and save yourself some pennies on spices!

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