Perennial herb with a round bulb which is fleshy and white inside, while outside it is covered by a brownish-red membrane. It flowers in autumn and is similar to the crocuses grown for their legendary spring flowers. The aerial parts of the saffron herb grow to about 30 cms. In height.
The delicate lilac-violet flowers appear in the autumn, in abundance when the summer is hot. Each flower, which opens in sunshine but closes in the dark or when it rains, has three stamens protruding from the cup, distinguishing it from the Colchicum crocus which is poisonous.
Saffron prefers the sun, therefore growth is limited in humid or foggy areas but it resists frost.
About 100,000 stamens are needed to produce 1 kilogram of saffron and this obviously makes the product very valuable. Other similar plants are often sold as saffron but they contain the color but less aroma
The stamens contain stimulating,toning and regulating properties but should only be used in small quantities.The pharmaceutical companies use saffron in the preparation of laudanum, drops used as a sedative and pain calmer.