[Sca-cooks] saffron, continued (poison vs editable)

Pixel, Goddess and Queen pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com
Fri Mar 9 12:17:43 PST 2007

Yes. "Autumn Crocus" is used both to refer to the saffron crocus (Crocus 
sativa/us) and members of the Colchicum genus. Colchicums are poisonous, 
Crocus sativa is not.

The page on saffron that the Brooklyn Botanical Garden has up says that a 
Colchicum has six stamens while a Crocus only has three: 

And they have a few more links as to where to get bulbs, too.


Margaret FitzWilliam

On Fri, 9 Mar 2007, Siren Song wrote:

> I was recently told that there are some of the same named bulbs that are poisonous that I have to make sure to get the editable
> ones when I go to plant them. Just thought I would pass that FYI along :)
> Siobhan
> "Pixel, Goddess and Queen" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 8 Mar 2007, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:
>>> The the spice the whole or just the pollen of the top of the thread?
>> The whole thread-- that is the stamen-- is the spice. But as you can
>> imagine that means one bulb, one thread.
>> I believe that the bulbs can be overwintered in some places but not
>> others, though generally one plants them in the spring (unlike other
>> bulbs). You probably get better results with removing and replanting
>> though.
> Actually the saffron thread is the stigma rather than the stamen--the
> stamen is what holds the pollen. And there are three stigmas (and thus
> threads) per flower.
> Lovely picture of the flowers: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/saffron.htm
> If our local garden center has bulbs again this year I may have to try
> growing them, just to see if it will work in the MN climate.
> YIS,
> Margaret FitzWilliam

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