Saffron crocus, Crocus sativus, with its vivid crimson stigmas and styles
Delicate saffron threads, plucked from crocus flowers and dried

Saffron (pronounced n/ or n/)[1] is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". The vivid crimson stigmas and styles, called threads, are collected and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food. Saffron, long among the world's most costly spices by weight,[2][3][4] was probably first cultivated in or near Greece.[5] C. sativus is probably a form of C. cartwrightianus, that emerged by human cultivators selectively breeding plants for unusually long stigmas in late Bronze Age Crete.[6] It slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia and was later brought to parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.

Saffron's taste and iodoform or hay-like fragrance result from the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal.[7][8] It also contains a carotenoid pigment, crocin, which imparts a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Its recorded history is attested in a 7th-century BC Assyrian botanical treatise compiled under Ashurbanipal,[9] and it has been traded and used for over four millennia. Iran now accounts for approximately 90% of the world production of saffron.[10]


A degree of uncertainty surrounds the origin of the English word "saffron". It might stem from the 12th-century Old French term safran, which comes from the Latin word safranum, from the Arabic za'farān,[11] which comes from the Persian word zarparan meaning "flower with golden petals".[12]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Saffraan
العربية: زعفران
български: Шафран
bosanski: Šafran
brezhoneg: Safron
català: Safrà
dansk: Safran
ދިވެހިބަސް: ކުކުން
eesti: Safran
español: Azafrán
Esperanto: Safrano
euskara: Azafrai
فارسی: زعفران
français: Safran (épice)
Gaeilge: Cróch
galego: Azafrán
한국어: 사프란
हिन्दी: केसर
hrvatski: Vrtni šafran
Ido: Safrano
Bahasa Indonesia: Kuma-kuma
íslenska: Saffran
עברית: זעפרן
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಕೇಸರಿ
Ladino: Alsafran
Latina: Safranum
latviešu: Safrāns
Lëtzebuergesch: Safran
lietuvių: Šafranas
മലയാളം: കുങ്കുമം
मराठी: केशर
مصرى: زعفران
Bahasa Melayu: Koma-koma
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကုံကုမံ
Nederlands: Saffraan
नेपाली: केशर
日本語: サフラン
norsk: Safran
norsk nynorsk: Safran
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੇਸਰ
پنجابی: کیسر
پښتو: گنگو
português: Açafrão
română: Șofran
संस्कृतम्: केसरम्
sardu: Zafferano
Scots: Saffron
සිංහල: කුංකුම
Simple English: Saffron
سنڌي: زعفران
српски / srpski: Шафран
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Šafran
suomi: Sahrami
svenska: Saffran
Türkçe: Safran
українська: Шафран (пряність)
اردو: زعفران
Tiếng Việt: Saffron
ייִדיש: זאפראן
粵語: 藏紅花
中文: 番紅花