First Crocus of Spring

First Crocus of Spring

Growing up in the midwest, the first sign of spring for me was always the first crocus that I spotted in the yard, typically peeking through the snow.

We lacked crocus around our house in California but, fortunately, we have plenty of bare dirt in the parking strip as we had a boatload of concrete removed last fall.

OSH — local hardware store — had a sale on bags of crocus bulbs, so I grabbed some, planted them in the bare dirt and promptly forgot where.

The other morning, Roger noticed something yellow in the dirt and discovered the first Crocus bloom of spring!

Gorgeous little flower, even for a bulb that hasn’t even had a season to mature and establish itself.

There are a couple of dozen other crocus sprouts in various areas of the parking strip (along with gladiolas and, now, about a pound of California native wildflower seeds) and I’m hoping for a variety of colors, but will be happy with just yellow.

First Crocus Detail

Crocus are also the source of saffron. At upwards of $5,000 per pound, saffron is one of the most expensive spices by weight in the world.

And no wonder! While this particular species of crocus is not one of the saffron bearing varieties (I don’t believe), I have seen ones that are and the actual little bits of spice are about 1/10th the size of that bit of orange in the middle of this particular flower.

A pound of saffron can contain upwards of 200,000 threads. Each saffron crocus contains 3 threads, requiring 70,000 or so flowers to have their little tiny hairs picked out, typically by hand.



4 Responses to “First Crocus of Spring”

  1. Adrian Milliner says:

    Thanks for the lesson on saffron – I didn’t know that.
    Lots of croci around where I live (London, UK) but it still doesn’t feel like spring.
    I blame Phil and his excellent shadow awareness.

  2. Joe Heck says:

    I’m right there with you on the crocii – I always use them as my harbinger of spring. Not so much snow in Seattle, but they’re still the early flowers. Incredible pics! I took one the other day with my iphone, just to have a pic. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t even come close to comparing.

    An interesting note about the saffron crocus – they are among the crocus that bloom in the fall, not the spring. We have a few in our yard that we maintain. We harvest them each year – 3 stamens a piece. Not a whole lot of saffron, but enough for a nice dish of something in the fall.

  3. Rhonabwy » Spring says:

    […] BBum has much better pictures of Crocus‘ though. […]

  4. Cheela says:

    I have wondered for years why yellow flowers (crocuses – or croci- and forsythia) are always the first to bloom. Does anyone know if there are receptors on these plants that make them more sensitive to warmth and/or light? Just curious.

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