Saffron, the name of a perennial herb and of a dyestuff and spice obtained from the herb. Saffron is a crocus native to Asia Minor and Greece. The plant usually grows to a height of about four inches (10 cm). It bears blue, lavender, or white flowers that bloom in the fall.
Red and yellow saffron dyes, extracted from parts of the flower (the styles and stigmas), are used to color medicines and foods. Stigmas of saffron flowers are dried and used as a spice. Although saffron products are costly (about 2,000 flowers are needed to produce one ounce [28 grams] of dye or spice), they are frequently used in Europe and the Middle East. Spain produces more than half of the world's commercial supply of saffron.
Saffron is Crocus sativus of the iris family, Iridaceae.