The name of the genus is derived from the Latin adjective crocatus, meaning saffron yellow. Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The word Crocus is Latin for Saffron. The flower's three stigmas (the distal ends of the plant's carpels, or female reproductive organs) and parts of its style (a stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant) are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Crocus is the native of Southern Europe and Asia.
There are about 80 species of crocus, of which approximately 30 are cultivated. These cup-shaped, solitary, salverform flowers taper off into a narrow tube. Knowing this, it should not surprise you that Saffron comes from the stigma of the Saffron Crocus. But, it takes thousands of flowers to get an ounce of Saffron. Saffron, which has for decades been the world's most expensive spice by weight, is native to Southwest Asia. It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.
March 23rd, 2015
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