Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Crocus and Saffron

Crocuses or Croci, are a genus in the iris family. While they were originally documented on the island of Crete, they were introduced to central Europe in the mid 1500's and are now native to woodlands in many parts of the world. They have precious small bulbs that are called corns. 

Crocus sativus is the type of crocus that gives us the magic of saffron. This precious spice was originally used to dye the garments of women of a very high status and priestesses in Crete. These flowers were considered sacred and associated with Eos or Arora in classsical antiquity. During the middle ages, croci were symbols of the trinity. 

In my mother's kitchen saffron was the most cherished spice, it was used to make paella, a traditional Spanish seafood dish. It was also used for seasoning seafood soups.

I have have recently begun working with saffron in my perfumes, it is a rich deep orange treasure that gives perfumes a very earthy and unique scent. It is very potent so only a small amount is needed as a top note. The scent is warm, musky, aromatic and spicy, the oil is made from the dried stigmata. 

In Chinese herbal medicine, this herb is known as Fan Hong Hua, it is prescribed in formulas for invigorating blood and removing stagnation. It is such a precious remedy because it takes 75,000 flowers to make one pound of saffron!

According to Greek mythology, there are various myths around the legend of Krokus. One such myth is that after his love affair with Smilax, he was turned into a plant by the Gods!

These pictures were taken this week. These beautiful flowers are symbols of resurrection, cheerfulness, and preciousness. The petals are so delicate and beautiful. Having the opportunity to photograph them is such a treat. They are always the welcoming flowers of Spring. 

1 comment:

  1. GORGEOUS as always, Maria, HAPPY SPRING EQUINOX to you.....xoxoxoox