Monday, September 19, 2011


Purple-flowered saffron is a wonderful plant to which nature has given a fascinating fragrance, a beautiful color, and a host of other qualities. Believed to have been originally native to the Mediterranean area, Asia Minor, and India, the saffron crocus has long been cultivated in India and was taken from this country a number of other parts of the world as a result of trade after its high quality and distinctive properties were understood over centuries of its application. The name saffron comes from the Arabo-persian "za'faran", Arabs having dominated the spice market for a very long time

The saffron flower is composed of 6 purple petals, 3 golden yellow stamens and one red pistil. It is this famous pistil made up of 3 stigmas (filaments) which when dried up gives the saffron.Treasured for its golden-colored ,pungent stigmas, which are dried and used to flavor and color foods and as a dye.
With its strong, exotic aroma and bitter taste , saffron is named among the sweet-smelling herbs in the Song of Solomon . A golden-colored water soluble fabric dye was distilled from saffron stigmas in India in ancient times. Shortly after Buddha died, his priests made saffron the official color for their robes. The dye has  been used for royal garments in several cultures .As a perfume, saffron was strewn in Greek and Roman halls, courts, theaters and balls, it became especially associated with the hetaerae, a professional class of Greek courtesans. The streets of Rome were sprinkled with saffron when Nero made his entry into the city

Kashmir is  among regions where saffron was cultivated for the first time ,and its cultivation development in other parts of the world is regarded as a consequence of wars and conquests by foreign armies, When Spain was conquered by the Muslims some products cultivable in territories under Muslim influence were taken there for cultivation in about 961 AD. Saffron is mentioned in an English leech book, or healing manual of the 10th century but may have disappeared from western Europe until reintroduced the crusaders.
Saffron is supposed to have been introduced into China by the Mongol invasion who took its bulbs from Iran. It is mentioned in the Chinese material  medical (Pun tsaou 1552-78)
The above manner of dissemination has continued to this very day in different methods to regions whose climatic conditions allow for its cultivation .As the latest immigrants to the United States, some Iranians have taken up its cultivation in the state of California.
Saffron crocus, Crocus sativus ,is a bulbous perennial of iris family (Iridaceous). Its plant has long and narrow leaves with no petiole and grows directly form but also grow occasionally in clusters.

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