The Saffron Crocus in Crete

julia feise
Tue, 01 Nov 2005 22:57:21 PST
As a new comer, can I say how thrilled I am to have found your forum, which 
I am thoroughly enjoying.  My husband and I moved to the Greek Island of 
Crete three years ago.  As a botanical artist the island gives me tremendous 
inspiration.  At the moment, we are mounting a campaign of education with 
local farmers to preserve Crete's endemic and rare Crocus oreocreticus.  
Last year we found a wonderful meadow full of these large, colourful blooms. 
  When the Autumn rains began I looked forward with eager anticipation to 
their appearance,  Two weeks ago we went up to the mountain meadow armed 
with cameras, drawing pads and pencils.  To our horror, the whole area had 
been ploughed up - no sign of Crocus oreocreticus anywhere, although 
Colchicum cretense was in evidence everywhere.  Can anyone tell me whether 
the saffron of C. oreocreticus is edible?  Our saffron here in Greece is 
commercially grown somewhere in Northern Greece and is relatively cheap, 
compared with other sources.  For those who don't know this island, in 
Autumn and Spring the mountains are like some wonderful, huge rock garden - 
at the moment the limestone rocks are covered with Sternbergias, Colchicums, 
Crocuses and Narcissus.  Absolute bliss! If anyone would like to see photos 
please visit our website - we have a flower calendar, on 
which we regularly post new images.  Crocus oreocreticus, which we 
eventually found, can be found in the October section.

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