Crocus sativus

Saffron crocus
A single shell-shaped violet flower is in sharp centre focus amidst a blurred daytime and overcast garden backdrop of soil, leaves, and leaf litter. Four narrow spine-like green leaves flank the stem of the blossom before curving outward. From the base of the flower emerge two crooked and brilliant crimson rod-like projections pointing down sideways. They are very thin and half the length of the blossom.
Crocus sativus blossom with crimson stigmas
Scientific classification e
Species:C. sativus
Binomial name
Crocus sativus
  • Crocus autumnalis Sm. nom. illeg.
  • Crocus officinalis (L.) Honck.
  • Crocus orsinii Parl.
  • Crocus pendulus Stokes
  • Crocus setifolius Stokes
  • Geanthus autumnalis Raf.
  • Safran officinarum Medik.

Crocus sativus, commonly known as saffron crocus, or autumn crocus,[2] is a species of flowering plant of the Crocus genus in the Iridaceae family. It is best known for producing the spice saffron from the filaments that grow inside the flower. The term "autumn crocus" is also mistakenly used for flowers in the Colchicum species. However, crocuses have 3 stamens and 3 styles, while colchicum have 6 stamens and 1 style and are toxic.[3]

This cormous autumn-flowering perennial plant species is unknown in the wild.[2] Human cultivation of saffron crocus and use of saffron have taken place for more than 3,500 years and spans different cultures, continents, and civilizations, see history of saffron. Crocus sativus is currently known to grow in the Mediterranean, East Asia, and Irano-Turanian Region.[4] Saffron may be the triploid form of a species found in Eastern Greece, Crocus cartwrightianus; it probably appeared first in Crete. An origin in Western or Central Asia, although often suspected, is not supported by botanical research.[5] Other sources suggest some genetic input from Crocus pallasii.[6]


Crocus sativus has a corm, which holds leaves, bracts, bracteole, and the flowering stalk.[4] These are protected by the corm underground. C. sativus generally blooms with purple flowers in the autumn. The plant grows about 10 to 30 cm high.[7] C. sativus is a triploid with 24 chromosomes, which means it has three times the haploid number of chromosomes. This makes the plant sterile due to its inability to pair chromosomes during meiosis.[8]

A Crocus sativus plant growing from a developed corm.
Other Languages
العربية: زعفران مزروع
aragonés: Crocus sativus
azərbaycanca: Adi zəfəran
čeština: Šafrán setý
Deutsch: Safran
español: Crocus sativus
français: Crocus sativus
íslenska: Saffrankrókus
italiano: Crocus sativus
ქართული: Crocus sativus
қазақша: Екпе запыран
lietuvių: Daržinis krokas
македонски: Шафран
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကုံကုမံပင်
Nederlands: Saffraankrokus
Nordfriisk: Safraan
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Zaʼfaron
slovenčina: Šafran siaty
slovenščina: Pravi žafran
українська: Шафран посівний
Tiếng Việt: Nghệ tây