Crocus / Crocus hyemalis / زعفران شائع

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Status: Common

The crocus is a geophyte endemic to the Levant. This member of the Iridaceae family blossoms in the fall, stemless, from a small annual bulb. It is found in the eastern Mediterranean area. The fragrant funnel-shaped flowers are white with 6 cm petals and a yellow center where the petals fuse to a pipe-like structure. Thin purple lines are dispersed on the outer sides of the petals  . The straight entire leaves that sprout in a rosette, usually have a silvery midline .

The flowers have three dark purple-brown stamens and bright yellow pollen. The ovary is below the flower.

Flowering period: The crocus flowers from November to February. The fruit develops underground and rises in the spring. It contains many small round seeds.

The fruit is an elongated capsule with 3 compartments.

Ecology: It grows in the undergrowth of open fields, and scrublands, among rocks and terraces.

Common and medicinal uses: The bulbs of the crocus were used to produce the color yellow. The seasoning saffron is produced from the stigma, although a different species is used commercially. Saffron  is known as a treatment for liver conditions, eye infection, edema, wounds and colds.

Distribution in Palestine: It is found in the hilly areas of central highland and the upper Jordan Valley.

Other names: White Crocus, Winter Saffron

 IUCN red list status: least concern 

Local status: least concern