Crocus sativus is the saffroncrocus. Not new, even centuries old.. This autumn flowering crocus produces three yellow stamens and three red pistels or stigmas. These red stigmas are in dried form called "red gold", or saffron.
The most expensive spice in the world has been cultivated since ancient times and does not grow in the wild.
Saffron is widely used as a colorant in Mediterranean cuisine. Think of the yellow rice in the Spanish paella. Oddly enough, the red saffron gives off a yellow colour.
The taste of saffron is very mystical, but you can distinguish the smell honey very well.
Saffron is often used in sauces for fish dishes or in desserts.
Saffron is expensive because the harvest is very labor intensive. The red pistils are harvested by hand, and then dried. The weight loss is huge, to 80%. For one gram of saffron you will need up to one hundred flowers. Fortunately, the amount of saffron that is needed in the kitchen is so little that you will have enough with the harvest of twenty flowers to make a sauce.
The Crocus sativus is grown mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, because there the conditions are perfect. The bulb desires dry (well drained) soil and high temperatures. In the Northern European climate it is the best to plant the bulbs in a pot and put them in a sheltered spot in full sun.
Between the grasslike leaves the beautiful purple flowers will appear soon. Now you can harvest your own saffron.