Thursday, November 12, 2009

Saffron Flower and Corm

The picture above is from the website-
Recently an uncle and aunt of mine visited Kashmir. They went to the saffron fields near Srinagar and brought back a corm with a flower. The flower was wilted but still had the strong saffron fragrance. It was quite fascinating.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. In India, Saffron cultivation is unique to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The annual production of saffron is confined to Pampore in the Kashmir valley and to the Kishtwar valley of Jammu province and varies from 10 to 12 tonnes.
The botanical name of Saffron is Crocus sativus. The purple colored flowers appear just above the ground and are a beautiful sight.The flower is the only part of the plant which is seen above the ground. The blooming time of this flower is autumn. Saffron has a unique sweet smell and is used in dyeing and cooking.
The orange-red stigmas of the saffron plant are harvested and produce a pleasant aroma and a warm golden orange color. Each plant only produces three small, red colored stigmas. Approximately 100000-150000 flowers are needed for one kilogram of dried saffron!
Saffron has to be harvested by hand which also drives up the price. Another difficult aspect to harvesting saffron is that all the plants flower within two weeks of the year and they only flower for less than a day. That means that thousands of workers have to work on constantly rotating shifts twenty four hours a day for two weeks.
The yellow stamens are also harvested but they do not have the same aromatic and color properties of the stigmas. Pure saffron consists of only the stigmas of the flower. Saffron is also believed to have many medicinal properties. It is called Kesar in India.


  1. This is the first time I ever see a safron flower. This a very good picture. I always thought the flowers were yellow. I think the saffron threads we use for cooking also comes from this flower. This flower grows from the ground, how very unique.

  2. Autumn Belle, the saffron threads are the dried red stamens of this flower.
    The picture of the purple flower can be found at the following link: It is a very informative website.
    The other picture is of the corm that my aunt brought from Kashmir.

  3. You have a great blog. The safron flower is beautiful. The header on your blog is so pretty. Is that a watercolor?

  4. @ Amy. Thanks for the appreciation. As for the header- a filter of photoshop applied on a photograph!

  5. I found you through blotanical. You have a great blog. I, too, have had experience with construction workers who are clueless about plants. Good luck on your new gardening endeavors; I am sure everything will be beautiful!

  6. Lovely photos and interesting facts about saffron. I only knew that it's grown in J&K but I didn't know the areas. Glad you mentioned it.

    An army friend recently got some (in one of those little rectangular boxes) from Kashmir. I'm using it once in a while. The flowers are beautiful. I've never seen them (in real life).



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