Friday, December 2, 2016

Saffron in the house

I picked the fall-blooming saffron crocus flowers in the cold garden, each one still furled tightly. In the day since I removed their stick barricades (for photos) the squirrel/s had dug some up. Grrr. I replaced the barricade.

In the bright kitchen I put the flowers down, and was then distracted by a conversation with the Frenchman, who had come home with some very fancy noise canceling headphones for me, to listen better to movies on super longhaul flights (14.5 hours to Johannesburg, coming up soon) and to tune out neighbors.

Then I turned around, back to the flowers.

They had opened!

I have never thought about crocuses. It turns out they are thermonastic: they are very sensitive and respond to, temperature. They are also slightly photonastic - responsive to light. 

In the warm, bright kitchen they opened their petals in minutes, something I thought I would not see. 

Each flower has three red stigmas. I had 14 flowers (more are still appearing, in the garden). 

The fresh red stigmas are sweetly scented. They are two feet from where I type and I can smell them.

Next year I'm planting more.

I have such a smile on my face.


  1. Magical! What a beautiful discovery.

  2. I had no idea that's where saffron comes from. Bravo!

    1. An oft-quoted statistic is that it requires at least 50,000 flowers to yield one lb of saffron. I have a ways to go :-)

    2. Tee hee! Are the stigmas from all crocus plants edible?

    3. I'd have to do some research to answer well, Katie. A lot of cut and paste info on the web at first glance.

  3. Ha, as I read your wonderful entry today about saffron, I snort - oh I am a crocus - sensitive to temperature, sensitive to light and an add on, sensitive to noise/sound.
    Thank you for your blog insights, they brighten my day and I find joy in the joy that you find.

  4. It is great that yours are flowering so well in their first season! My established patch took a while to get there, and the additional ones planted early this fall have only put out a smattering of leaves.

  5. An early morning gift in the clear cool air of Hermanus. Thank you.

  6. I love discoveries that feel like they should be unattainable. Gardening is pure magic. Who knew you could have saffron growing in your back yard...


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