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Crocus is a genus of seasonal flowering plants in the family Iridaceae comprising about 100 species of perennials growing from corms. They are low growing plants, whose flower stems remain undergound, that bear relatively large white, yellow, orange or purple flowers and then become dormant after flowering. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. The crocus has been known throughout recorded history, mainly as the source of saffron. Saffron is obtained from the dried stigma of Crocus sativus, an autumn-blooming species. It is valued as a spice and dyestuff, and is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra from the Mediterranean, through North Africa, central and southern Europe, the islands of the Aegean, the Middle East and across Central Asia to Xinjiang in western China.   Wikipedia

crocus | saffron

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