Saffron crocus Crocus sativus Photo/Illustration: Boyd Hagen 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) KROW-kus sah-TY-vus Synonyms: C. sativus var. cashmirianus Genus: Crocus The saffron crocus blooms in the autumn, producing 1 to 5 rich lilac flowers with dark purple veins, held wide open above inconspicuous foliage. Noteworthy Characteristics: Plants may bloom well the first year, but sparsely thereafter. Generally will not flower in cool, wet areas. Saffron, called "the world's most expensive spice," is obtained from the long, conspicuous, deep red style. It takes about 14,000 stigma to make one ounce of saffron threads. Care: Plant 3 to 4 inches deep in late summer. Likes full sun and gritty, poor to moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Prefers hot summers. Under glass, provide full light with gritty soil and ample water during growth. Keep dry during summer dormancy. Propagation: Sterile, increasing only by division. Problems: Mice, voles, and squirrels may eat the corms, while birds may pick off flowers. In storage, corms are prone to rots and molds. Overview Height Less than 6 in. Spread Less than 6 in. Growth Habit Clumps Growth Pace Moderate Grower Light Full Sun Only Moisture Medium Moisture Maintenance Moderate Characteristics Showy Flowers Bloom Time Fall Flower Color Purple Uses Beds and Borders Style Herb Garden, Rock Garden Seasonal Interest Fall Interest Type Perennials Crocus sativusView the discussion thread.