Saffron, Holy (Crocus sativus), top size (+ – 1 inch diameter)
Family: Iris (Iridaceae)
Hardy to Zones 6 to 9
(Zang Hong Hua) Perennial bulbous plant flowering to 6 inches, native to Southern Europe, Asia Minor and Iran. Blooming in Oct, the flowers are purple, cupping the long orange-red stigmas–the spice. Plant prefers rich, sandy, well-drained soil in the part shade or sun.
Source of the enticing spice”saffron.” Just a few threads will impart a lovely color to rice and other dishes, lending a delicious taste and fragrance. Traditional uses (always very low dosage): Stomachic, antidepressant, oral cleanser, sedative and analgesic. Saffron water is often used in ceremonies to cleanse and make ready for empowerment. As a dyeplant, produces the golden yellow color associated with the robes of spiritual adepts.
Here’s a link to a planta-med publication that just came out showing saffron to be as effective as commonly prescribed antidepressants in treatment of mild to moderate depression https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/a-0660-9565
Cultivation: Plant these dormant bulbs immediately on receipt for emergence in the fall. Usually flowers the second year, although the biggest bulbs may flower soon after planting. The bulb sends up a spearlike growth of green (see photo accompanying this write-up). Plant bulbs “tip up” in well drained soil, 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Depending on when the bulbs are purchased and in what season they are planted, emergence may take as little as 3 weeks or as long as 5 months. The bulbs work excellently in pots, and planting in 3-gallon pots is a good way to assure success while increasing the size and number of bulbs in short order. This technique also protects the bulbs from predation by groundsquirrels or gophers. Saffron can also be gainfully grown in raised beds protected by hardware cloth underneath. The soil used to fill the beds should be sandy yet rich, kept well-weeded and watered infrequently.
What you will receive: Bag of 6 or 20 dormant bulbs, top size as per image, appx 1 inch diameter, available within the US only