Floral Weekends – Crocus sativus

Hey everyone! Welcome to floral weekends. For those who don’t know, this is a segment started by me where I write about some beautiful and strange flowers from all around the world. If you also wanna be a part of this, pingback to my blog and use the tag #floralweekends. This way we can enjoy a number of beautiful flowers.

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Crocus sativus

saffron1

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum Angiosperms
Class Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Crocoideae
Genus: Crocus
Species: C. sativus

Crocus sativus, commonly known as saffron or autumn crocus, best known for porducing spice saffron from filaments that grow inside the flower. I’m writing about this flower today because “saffron” spice really fascinates me, its one of the most expensive spices of the world. Why? So I found out that saffron is actually the filament of the flower of Crocus sativus. Each flower bears only 3 such vivid crimson filaments and each plant bears only 4 flowers. This extremely less quantity makes this spice so rare and expensive. What makes this spice more interesting is that back in school I’ve learnt that filament of flowers is usually toxic and poisonous, except for this one. Now lets talk a bit about the plant.

Crocus sativus has a corm, (whats a corm? Its a short swollen underground stem) which bears bracts, bracteoles, leaves and flowering stalk, which generally blooms with purple flowers in autumn. Now here’s a bit sciency part, this plant has 3 times haploid chromosomes which makes it sterile to meiosis (sexual reproduction), hence this plant is vegetatively propagated.

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Talking about saffron; The stigma and filaments are collected and dried and used as food additives.  It can take 75,000 saffron blossoms to produce a single pound of saffron spice. Saffron contains carotenoid pigment, crocin, that imparts red-yellow color to food items. In India, specially, saffron is used in Indian Biryani’s to give a spectrum of yellow-orange colors and some mouth watering savoring flavors.

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Chicken Biryani

Safranal is the most important volatile oil compound found in Saffron, which gives the herb its flavor. It contains minerals like potassium, which control heart rate and blood pressure, and vitamins A and C, folic acid, niacin and riboflavin that are essential for maintaining healthy growth.

If you’re planning to grow some, here are some tips. Plant every corm about 4-6 inches apart and about 4 inch deep in the ground. Good drainage is extremely important for this plant to grow.  The corms will multiply after each year, and will last 3–5 years.

Well thats all for today. hope you enjoyed todays flower-cum-spice.

 

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