Negin Saffron

  • Origin: IRAN

Crocus sativus - L.

Common Name Saffron
Family Iridaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous[21]. The plant is perfectly safe in normal usage but 5 - 10 grams of saffron has been known to cause death[65].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild location[90].
Range W. Asia to S. Europe.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Crocus sativus is a CORM growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from October to May, in flower in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, butterflies.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


 Lawn; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses: Colouring  Condiment  Tea

The flower styles are commonly used as a flavouring and yellow colouring for various foods such as bread, soups, sauces, rice and puddings[2, 4, 7, 14, 21, 27, 34, 183]. They are an essential ingredient of many traditional dishes such as paella, bouillabaisse, risotto milanese and various other Italian dishes[244]. The styles are extremely rich in riboflavin[137]. Water soluble[171]. Yields per plant are extremely low, about 4000 stigmas yield 25g of saffron[89]. Saffron is the world's most expensive spice, it takes 150,000 flowers and 400 hours work to produce 1 kilo of dried saffron[238]. 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[244]. Because of the cost, saffron is frequently adulterated with cheaper substitutes such as marigold flowers and safflower[244]. The flower styles are used as a tea substitute[183]. Root - cooked[183]. The corms are toxic to young animals[218] so this report of edibility should be treated with some caution[K].

Medicinal Uses

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, 7, 254]. 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[7]. The styles and stigmas are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative and stimulant[4, 7, 21, 174, 176, 218]. 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, 254]. A dental analgesic is obtained from the stigmas[7]. 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[238]. This remedy should be used with caution[21], large doses can be narcotic[240] and quantities of 10g or more can cause an abortion[218].