Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world is derived from the dry stigmata of the plant Crocus
Sativus. The plant is a bulbous, perennial with globular corms, 15-20 cm high. It has 6 to 10 leaves
present at anthesis, one to two flowers with a lilac-purple colour with perianth segments of 3.5 – 5
cm and style branches of 2.5 – 3.2 cm. The yellow style is deeply divided into three branches and the
stigmata are bright red. Flowers are arising directly from the corms. Flowers have tri-lobed stigma,
which along with the style tops yield the saffron of commerce.
ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
Saffron is a native of Southern Europe and cultivated in Mediterranean countries, particularly in
Spain, Austria, France, Greece, England, Turkey, Iran. In India, it is cultivated in Jammu & Kashmir
and in Himachal Pradesh. Saffron thrives best in warm sub-tropical climate. In Spain, it is grown in
dry temperate conditions with an annual rainfall below 40 cm. It grows at an elevation of 2000 mtrs
MSL. Photoperiod exerts a considerable influence in the flowering of saffron. An optimum period of 11
hours illumination is desirable. Unusually low temperature coupled with high humidity during flowering
season affects flowering of the crop. Spring rains boost production of new corms. Slightly acidic to
neutral, gravelly, loamy, sandy soils are suitable for saffron cultivation.
Saffron is used as a culinary seasoning and to colour, cottage cheese, chicken and meat, rise, mayonnaise,
liquors and cordials. It is also used in speciality breads, cakes, confectionaries, Mughlai dishes.
Saffron is also used as a perfume in cosmetics. In medicine saffron is used in fevers, melancholia, and
enlargement of liver and spleen. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to heal arthritis, impotence and infertility.
It has wide range of uses in Chinese and Tibetan medicines.
INDIAN NAME OF Saffron
Hindi:Kesar Bengali: Jafran Gujarati: Keshar Kannada: Kumnkuma kesari Kashmiri: Kong Malayalam
: Kunkumapoove Marathi: Keshar, Kesara Punjabi: Kesar, Zafran Sanskrit: Keshara, Kunkuma, Aruna,
Asra, Asrika Tamil: Kungumapoo Urdu: Zafran
FOREIGN NAME OF Saffron
Spanish: Azafran French: Safran German: Safran Swedish: Saffran Arabic: Zafran Dutch: Saffraan
Italian: Zafferano Portugues: Acofrao Russian: Shafran Japanese: Safuran Chinese: Fan Hung-Hua
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