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Saffron flower or crocus is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Crocus is one of 75 low growing cormose species and belongs to the Iris Iridaceae family. Crocus derives its name from the Latin word crocatus, which means saffron yellow. There are over 200 species of crocus with more being added after taxonomic verification. It is native to the Alps and grows in other parts of central and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean. It is also found in parts of Iran, the Middle East and in cold climates of mountainous areas of Western Asia. Crocuses grow well in North America where the weather is similar to parts of Europe.

Crocuses have cuplike flowers and set flower in early spring and/or fall. The flowers close at night. The reason crocuses are known as the saffron flower is because the pistils are harvested and cured to make saffron. Thousands of flowers must be harvested to get 1 kilo of saffron.

Crocuses grow from corms. Corms are not like bulbs. Their center contains a mass of food with a basal plate at the bottom and buds on the top. Corms should be planted with the buds facing up. They bloom from early spring through April and through August and September in the fall. There are many species of crocus to choose from and the flowers add a bright splash of color to a landscape. Crocus bulbs like well drained soil and full sun to grow in. They can grow in partial shade depending on the location.

If you like, you can plant saffron flower bulbs in your lawn and have nice splashes of color when the flowers bloom. Plant bulbs 3 inches deep and 3 inches apart. Scatter them in a flower bed to have a natural looking flower bed. Crocuses will grow warmer climates as well and are considered annuals. Refrigerate the bulbs till late in the winter. In colder regions, dig up the bulbs, dry them out and then store in a net bag in a basement or a cool, dark location.

Crocuses can be grown in containers as well. Squirrels and other small animals like to eat crocus corms. If you want to deter damage, plant crocus corms in chicken wire cages. Crocus corms should be dug up every 3 to 4 years after the foliage has yellowed and died off. Divide them and check for good health before storing and replanting. Fertilize them in the fall so that you can enjoy crocus blooms for many years.

What does the saffron flower symbolize?

Saffron flowers symbolize rebirth, joy, innocence and new beginnings. It is also a symbol of youthfulness as it is the first flower to bloom in the spring. In ancient Rome, the crocus was a symbol of love.

What do the various colors of the saffron flower mean?

Crocus flowers are available in range of colors like lavender, purple, blue, orange, yellow, white and cream.

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Lavender saffron flower meaning is pride, dignity and success.

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Purple saffron flower meaning is merriment, hope and youthfulness.

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Blue saffron flower meaning is dejection and disheartenment. This flower is used to convey the message that the best days have passed by.

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Orange saffron flower meaning is hardiness and a warning to not abuse things or people.

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Yellow saffron flower meaning is cheerfulness and joy.

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White saffron flower meaning is honesty and childlike purity.

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Cream saffron flower meaning is rebirth and new beginnings.

Interesting facts and characteristics of the saffron flower

· The stamen of the saffron crocus is used in cooking and as a seasoning in Southwest Asia.

· Each bulb will produce just one flower.

· Saffron crocus flowers have 3 red stigmas which are harvested for use as a spice.

· The stamens are so delicate that children are sent to harvest the flower.

· It takes 150 flowers to produce a gram of saffron spice. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world.

· The autumn crocus or saffron crocus was a source of yellow dye during Roman times.

· A crocus plant grows to 12 inches in height.

· The flower color depends on the species.

· Crocus flowers are cup shaped and grow on top of a long tube-like structure.

· Crocus leaves look like grass and are slim and long.

· Many crocus species grow in woodlands, alpine meadows, scrubland and rocky mountain sides.

· Crocuses have been in cultivation since 500 BC.

· Crocus plants are used as medicine, dyes and spices.

· Crocus flowers appear 6 to 8 weeks after the corms are planted. Crocus flowers last around 3 weeks.

· Crocuses are the first flowers to bloom in the spring. They poke out of the snow and bring cheer to a colorless landscape.

· All parts of the autumn crocus are poisonous except for the stamen. It is also poisonous for pets. It can cause bloody diarrhea, drooling and vomiting. In extreme cases, it can cause death.

Best time to give someone saffron flowers

Now that you know what the different colors of the saffron flower symbolize, pick the right color to give as a gift. These are easy to grow in a landscape or even in a pot. In cold regions, it can be considered a perennial as they bloom in the spring and fall. If the person you want to gift crocus flowers to doesn’t have a garden, buy bulbs and plant in a ceramic container. These corms are easy to grow and care for. These beautiful and colorful flowers made a good gift any time of year and appropriate for most occasions.


Saffron flowers have been in cultivation for centuries and used for many purposes. The flowers are used to dye fabric and the stamens are used for cooking. Saffron crocuses may not always bloom in the first year they are planted. It takes a season for them to settle and get established before setting flower. For being such a dainty looking flower, the saffron crocus and others are very hardy and cope well in freezing cold weather. If you live in a drought prone, cold area, the plants will have to be watered to prevent them from dying.