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What is saffron? The origin and more information about the planting and quality of saffron

What is saffron?

It is a plant that grows through the saffron onion. The onion of this plant has a brown- colored straw that protects from it. After plating the onion of this plant, it is begins to grow and makes a stem that a bud is being created at the end of it.

Saffron is a gramineous, perennial plant with white- colored corm that there are Ross and lateral sprouts on it. The root is short, tap and usually exits from the norm of corm on a circle.

After blooming, you face with a purple flower with 6 pretty petals that protects from 3 red- colored stigma. These 3 red stigma are that aromatic and tasty substance that it is obtained with great difficulty.

The flower includes 6 pieces perianth, 3 sepal and 3 same colored and aromatic petals, which have 3 flags with yellow-colored anther, the pistil of it has white cream, 3 branch and red- colored stigma.

The long and thin leaves of are grass or dark green- colored with a length which is approximately 20 to 50 meters, to the a number of 5-121 leaf that the flowers and leaves are settle in the inside of a membrane tube, named spot (ladle) that has the duty of supporting from leaf and flower until existing from the soil. This plant is triple and doesn’t produce any seed.

The titles, origin and background of saffron

It is famous to health flower, the king of spices and red gold. The most valuable Iranian growing that the main origin of it, is the hillsides of Alvand. The planting of saffron is returning to the years prior to Christ birth in Iran.

The main farm of saffron in Iran and the world

Iran is the most famous producer of saffron in the world that 95%of the country’s saffron is being cultivated in Khorasan-e Jonoubi province and 5% in the provinces of Yazd, Isfahan, Fars, Kerman and Markazi.

After lran that produces 81% of the world’s saffron, the cultivation of saffron is common in the countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Bangladesh, Morocco, India and etc.

The essential substances for saffron planting:

– The proper weather for saffron:

Saffron is a semi- tropic plant and it grow well in the regions that have mild winters and warm and dry summers

The resistance of saffron against cold is high toward cold, but because its growth period is coincides with autumn, winter and beginning of spring, naturally it needs proper and moderate weather in these days. In the plant rest or sleep period (summer), the rain or irrigation is harmful for it; so the cultivating of it in the hot regions of the south of the country is not common.

The sunshiny lands and without tree that do not expose to cold winds, are proper for the growth of saffron. Nevertheless, they are cultivating in some villages of Birjand and Ghaen, below the shadow of barberry’s bushes and almond trees that are less irrigating in the summer.

The maximum temperature of this plant is between 35-40 degrees and showed a good performance in the height between 1300 to 2300 meters from the sea level.

– The proper soil for cultivation of saffron:

Since the saffron’s onion stays for a long time in the earth, the soil of land should be lightweight with a combination of sand and clay that during this period, onion in addition of food supply, it could be resistant in the opposite of special regional condition.

So for proper growth and development of the plant and producing of high- quality and desirable product, in comparison with wet, acidic, saline land, the fertile and drained land, without tree, with soil (Loamy, lemony, clay, sandy) and limy are preferred.

Saffron doesn’t give a good product in the lands which have cobblestone, weeds or organic materials that are not rotten.

The preparation of a proper land for cultivation:

In the preparing a land for planting of saffron, it is necessary to pay special attention and accuracy. At first, in the proper opportunities in autumn or winter, the intended land is being plowed deeply. Whereas the condition is not being proper or accessing to tractor is not possible, the ploughing could be done in the end of spring or the beginning of Tir.

In the preparing of land in the form of context, the earth is being ploughed in the early of spring and after the interruption of spring rains; after 10-15 days, the land will be plough again and if earth has clod, the plow is being opened and the clods being crushed by using the trowel; after 2 or 3 weeks, the land will be plough two times in perpendicular directions. Prior to third plough, for every 100 square meters of land, animal manure will be spread for 5-10 load of an ass.

The farmers know well that repeated ploughs, regardless of preparing a proper ground for cultivation, it will clean the land from the existence of weeds.

In this way, the land gets terraced and the length and width of terrace are determined according to the land’s slope and the power of water. Usually, the length and width of terrace is between 4*10 till 10*100 meter. In the mechanized agriculture of saffron, the land will plough with plow in the fall of the year before planting. In spring, after interruption of spring rains, the soil will get clean from the existence of weeds by doing medium ploughing, while breaking the bar; in Mordad or Shahriver, after distributing of 40-48 ton of animal manure and 200 kg of Ammonium sulfate, the land becomes Faro and get ready for cultivation (Of course, a nutritionist recommends that about 250 kg of potassium sulfate is also being mixed with soil in this phase).

Selecting the onion and the time of saffron cultivation:

The construction of new farms of saffron is possible only by its onion; so preparing and selecting of high- grade onion for planting is so important in the establishing and extension of cultivation.

The onion of saffron could be excavated from soil and being transferred to the warehouse or other farm; due to the plan rest period that is continuing from late Ordibehesht till late Mordad, it can acted upon excavating the onion in the meantime.

It’s better that the onions get planted after excavating from land that while continuing to rest, get settle in the new land. It should be avoid from excavating onions in late Mordad onwards, because in this time, it’s possible that some of the onions be ready for rooting and budding and it’s better that the distance of excavating onions till planting be less. Despite this, the saffron Onion could be kept for some months in the cold and dry places with the height of 20-30 cm in a distributed form, but this causes the lack of physiological development of flowers and it severely reduces the fruitage of the first year of cultivation.

The onion of saffron could be cultivated from the time of bush fall (Khordad) till middle of Mehr, but it’s better that avoid from the planting of onion in the late Tir and early Mordad. Because in this time, the weather is so warm and it is feared that the humidity of onion will be disappeared during transferring and damage it.

According to the investigations that were done by the industrial researches center of Khorasan province, the best time for cultivation is the month of Khordad.

The kind and amount of cultivation of saffron’s onion:

As it is told, saffron increases by the stem tuber that includes solid onions (root) and it’s size is different from a hazelnut to a walnut.

The selected onions should be bigger, healthier and without any wounds and scratches and also free of any disease. Prior to planting, It’s better to disinfect onions against fungal infections with fungicides like Serzan, Terry Tizan, Graniun and etc with the proportion of 300- 500 gr and poison for 100 kg onion.

In the time of planting, it’s better to separate the sequin or dry layer of onion foam along with some free bran on the onion to make the attraction of water easier by onion and the budding of it also done faster.

The amount of onion planting depends to the small and large size of it and it differs from 3-10 tone in hectare. The planting intervals are usually 25-30 cm from each side.

The number of selective onion for planting in each hole is 3 onion with average weight of 6 g for each onion. If the serial onions be in Faro individually and be in the distance of 6-8 cm from each other with the amount of 3 tons and in the event that they be in the form of traditional and consume 5 pieces in each hole, the amount of onion planting will reach up to 5 tons.

It should be noted that in a research that was done by engineer Behzad Sadeghi for the identification of the effect of onion’s weight in the function of product, it has been get that the weight of onion has a meaningful effect in the function of product, especially in the first year and the best onions were onions with more than 8 g.

The planting function of saffron’s onion:

For planting onion of saffron, at first the one row holes are brought out with shovel and as being told, in the inside of each hole, 3-15 onions are being put.

The depth of planting of onion is considered 15-20 cm and at the time of planting, the head of onions should be upward. The onions will stay immune in the depth of 20 cm from cold and glacial and other environmental stresses and also in the summer from heat- stroke.

For planting saffron, 4-5 people will participate in a way that one person brought out the holes with shovel, 2 person select the cultivable onions in the form of the groups of 3 to 5 or 15 and the fourth person puts the onions inside the holes and other people continue their work till all the land get planted.

Finally, the farm level that got twisted, with a shovel or a trowel which pulled by a cow, becomes smooth and compact until the onions stick to the soil.

The cultivated land gets released in the same way until autumn watering; prior to watering, about 10-20 tone of animal manure which are totally rotten are being distributed with shovel or four horns at ground level.

In Spain, the planting of saffron is done in the form of dry farming; the onions of saffron will get cultivated inside of 4 rows with the distance of 5- 8 cm from each other instead of piling and the planting rows have 30-35 cm far from each other. After doing the planting operation, grooves are covered by the trowel and the agriculture is seems serial.

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