Saffron crocus

Crocus sativus

Photo/Illustration: 
Boyd Hagen
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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/Lavender Flower
Uses
Beds and Borders
Style
Herb Garden,
Rock Garden
Seasonal Interest
Fall Interest
Type
Perennials

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