Herbs & Plants

Crocus nudiflorus

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Botanical Name :Crocus nudiflorus
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Crocoideae
Genus: Crocus
Species: C. nudiflorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Crocus aphyllus, Crocus fimbriatus, Crocus multifidus, Crocus pyrenaeus

Common Name : Saffron

Other Names: Autumnal crocus, Naked-flowered crocus

Habitat: Crocus nudiflorus is native to S. Europe – S.W. France to N.E. Spain.(the plants are found over much of Europe, especially around the Mediterranean, in North Africa, and in Western Asia.) It goows on Meadows. (Soil…Sand, Chalk)

Crocus nudiflorus is a CORM growing to Height in inches 6-10 and spread is 15.

Foliage: The Dark Green grasslike leaves appear after the flowers; becoming 6-8 inches long and 0.125 inches wide.

Flower Colour in Month(s). Seed: Bright Purple, 6 inches in height, blooms in September-October before the leaves.


It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, butterflies.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Prefers a well-drained sandy or loamy soil that is free from clay. Prefers some shade from the hottest sun in summer and at least a modicum of moisture during its summer dormancy. Succeeds in grass, so long as this is not mown until the leaves die down, it also grows well under deep-rooting deciduous trees and shrubs. It can also be grown with very low shallow-rooting groundcover plants such as lawn camomile (Chamaemelum nobile ‘Treneague’). Plants are very frost hardy. Plants tend to move considerably from their original planting place because of their means of vegetative reproduction, it is therefore wise not to grow different species in close proximity. The corms should be planted about 5 – 8cm deep in the soil. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer. Plants take 4 – 5 years to come into flowering from seed. The flowers are only open during the day time, closing at night.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light sandy soil in pots in a cold frame. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in early spring. Sow thinly because the seed usually germinates freely, within 1 – 6 months at 18°c. Unless the seed has been sown too thickly, do not transplant the seedlings in their first year of growth, but give them regular liquid feeds to make sure they do not become deficient. Divide the small bulbs once the plants have died down, planting 2 – 3 bulbs per 8cm pot. Grow them on for another 2 years in a greenhouse or frame and plant them out into their permanent positions when dormant in late summer. Plants take 3 – 4 years to flower from seed. Division of the clumps after the leaves die down in spring. The bulbs can be replanted direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
This species has been used as a saffron substitute. The following notes are for the genuine saffron, C. sativus:- The flower styles are used as a flavouring and yellow colouring for various foods such as bread, soups, sauces, rice and puddings. Extremely rich in riboflavin. Water soluble. Yields per plant are extremely low, about 4000 stigmas yield 25g of saffron. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, it takes 150,000 flowers and 400 hours work to produce 1 kilo of dried saffron. About 25 kilos of styles can be harvested from a hectare of the plant. The flower styles are used as a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
This species has been used as a saffron substitute. The following notes are for the genuine saffron, C. sativus:- Saffron is a famous medicinal herb with a long history of effective use. The flower styles and stigmas are the parts used, but since these are very small and fiddly to harvest they are very expensive and consequently often adulterated by lesser products. They are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative and stimulant. They are used as a diaphoretic for children and to treat chronic haemorrhages in the uterus of adults. A dental analgesic is obtained from the stigmas. The styles are harvested in the autumn when the plant is in flower and are dried for later use, they do not store well and should be used within 12 months. This remedy should be used with caution, large doses can be narcotic and quantities of 10g or more can cause an abortion.
Other Uses: Plants are ideal for rock gardens and for slight forcing in bowls for an early indoor display. The yellow dye obtained from the stigmas has been used for many centuries to colour cloth. It is the favoured colouring for the cloth of Indian swamis who have renounced the material world. A blue or green dye is obtained from the petals.

Known Hazards: The following reports are for C. sativus. They quite possibly also apply to this species. The plant is poisonous. The plant is perfectly safe in normal usage but 5 – 10 grams of saffron has been known to cause death.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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