SAFFRON consists of the dried stigmas of the Crocus satirus, a plant native of Greece and Asia Minor, but extensively cultivated in Austria, France, Spain, and also formerly in England. The Sicilian saffron L9 said to be the produce of the Crocus odorus, but both in ancient and modern times this sort has been little esteemed. England is chiefly supplied from France and Spain ; that of Spain being pre ferret In Germany, however, Spanish saffron is not in such repute as the Austrian, great being taken In the cultivation of the plant in that country. The oormi or stems are subject to the of a fungus, Scientism Crone-sin, by which they are extensively destroyed. %Then the flowers expand, and are thoroughly open under the Influence of the sun, the stigmas, of which there are three, are plucked out, a portion of one style remaining attached to them, and spread upon paper, to be dried either by means of portable kilns over which a hair. cloth or flue sieve is stretched. or In a room by the sun. The stigmas are from an inch to an inch and a half long, narrow and roundish where they are attached to the style, but spreading out and club-shaped towanla the apex, which is truncate. The upper part is of an orange or brownish red ; the pert of the style termed faminelle is yellowish. The stigmas have a penetrating, aromatic, and, when in large quantity, stupefying odour, and a bitter aromatic taste ; by mastication the mouth and rhea are rendered yellow. By long internal use of them many of the secretions acquire a yellow colour. The stigmas of Crocus Pallasii, C. langiftorus, and C. Susinees, are not so long as those of the genuine saffron crocus, and are altogether devoid of the strong odour. They
and many other articles, such as the florets of the safflower (Carthamus troaorisn), these of the marigold (Calendula oftinalis), slices of the flowers of the Punka grasatum, and pieces of dried flesh, are used to adulterate the true saffron. The saffron of English commerce is generally very pure; but the high price offers much temptation to sophistication, which might be diminished by collecting the stigmas of the Crocus mass, which are little inferior in colour or potency to those of the autumnal crocus. According to Mr. Pereira, one grain of good saffron contains the stigmata and styles of nine flowers ; hence 4820 flowers are required to yield one ounce of saffron. Saffron was formerly met with In two forms, hay saffron and cake saffron, the former is now alone In demand, the latter being entirely an artificial compound of the florets of the safflower, gum, and some other materials. Genuine saffron is often moistened with oil, which gives an appearance of freshness to old and dry saffron ; but the mixture is easily detected. Saffron consists of a volatile oil, in variable proportion, which is heavier than water, of polychroite, which is a compound of a volatile oil and a bitter red substance (or Jellychroite properly so called), gum, and other principles. [SA r Rene. j Saffron had formerly many poyeerful and important properties mis takenly Resigned to it. On the Continent it is much used as a condi ment with food. In England it is used in medicine, chiefly as a colouring principle. It is also employed as a pigment for water colours, and as a dye, for which purpose considerable quantities are imported from France.