April 3, 2008

Crocus


One of the most familiar of the early spring blooming flowers is the Crocus. Crocuses are members of the lily family (Iridaceae), and there are about eighty species of them. Even though there are still snow banks about in my locale, the crocus bulbs that are planted next to a south facing wall or foundation are now beginning to bloom. Soon the park next to my house will be awash in their bright yellow, white, purple and variegated blossoms like the ones in today’s photograph.


There are a number of interesting crocus species. I am particularly fond of the wild prairie crocus found in the province of Alberta. It is much more delicate than the cultivated variety. A species of autumn blooming crocus (Crocus sativus) is the plant that the spice Saffron comes from. The stigmas of the flower are carefully picked and dried in a very labour intensive process, thus making saffron, pound for pound, one of the most expensive things in the world.

1 comment:

theysaywordscanbleed said...

I never knew that saffron came from crocus flowers, thanks for that!

Arlene,
Bainbridge Island florist