Mystery solved -- biologists explain the genetic origins of the saffron crocus

ScienceDaily | 3/11/2019 | Staff
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For many farmers in Mediterranean countries, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, the production of saffron is the main source of income, since the saffron crocus also thrives in soils that cannot be utilised for agriculture. Even in the vicinity of Dresden, the cultivation of saffron has been recently restored after a centuries-long interruption that began in 1570. These local growers swear by the excellent quality of German saffron. Frost makes the plants more robust and the filaments more fragrant. Over the past millennia, saffron has been used as a spice, dye and as a medicine to treat rheumatism and alcohol addictions. For example, saffron was also used as a painkiller during childbirth and for "lady's malaise." According to Greek mythology, Zeus slept on a bed of saffron. In the 14th century "Saffron War of Balsthal," Swiss merchants were even ambushed and robbed.

Due to its immense value, ground saffron is frequently adulterated by the addition of substances such as pollen from other flowers. Experts therefore advise consumers to buy whole threads.

Saffron - Crocus - Species - Years - Plants

The saffron crocus is a triploid hybrid species, is sterile and cannot be bred. Although it has been cultivated for more than 3,500 years, all plants cultivated worldwide originate only from daughter bulbs. For almost 100 years, there has been controversy as to the possible parent species of the saffron crocus are. If the parent species were known, changes could be inserted into the crocus genome by new...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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