Saffron flowers are picked manually early in the morning, when it is still closed to obtain better quality saffron. Otherwise stigmas lose their colour and quality deteriorates. Separation of the stigma from the flower is called “stripping or peeling” and it is always done by hand. During peeling, avoid taking any part of the yellowish style as this degrades the quality of the product. After separating the stigma from the flower, it is essential to dry them.
Crocus is mainly propagated by tunicated corms. Corms selected for planting should be free from cut or marks and from rot or insect damage. Corms are selected on the basis of diameter and their weight. The critical flowering size of corms should have a diameter more than 2.5 cm and weight around 10 gm or more. Selection of best corm is important for production of commercial quality saffron because the number of flower and weight of stigma depends on corm size. For proper rooting and shoot development, corms must receive a 9oc temperature treatment for a minimum of 13 to 20 weeks.
The genus crocus is well known for its exquisitely beautiful flowers that are used in specialized gardening. Its cultivated species Crocus sativus is of prime economic importance since times immemorial.