Sunday, December 25, 2011

Crocus (Crocus sieberi)

Crocus sieberi or crocus(κρόκος) is also known as Cretan crocus and belongs to the Iridaceae family. One of its main characteristics of the flower is that 3-6 petals are striped and that their base is yellow.It was first discovered in Crete and thought to be endemic there, but now it’s known to occur in mainland Greece and other southern European countries. I saw those beautiful crocuses while hiking at Chelmos in Peloponnese in the beginning of June.
According to  Greek mythology Crocus was a friend of god Hermes. Once while they were playing Hermes hit Crocus on his head by accident and killed him. At that exact spot a crocus grew and as three drops of blood fell in the centre of the flower and they turned into the three filaments. That is how crocus gained his name.
Crocus has been used from the ancient times for various purposes. As a dye (yellowish colour), as a medicine (antioxidant, pain killer) or as a spice (saffron is the filaments from some crocus species). As for Crocus sieberi it is used as an ornament plant but also as a food. Its corms can be eaten raw and they are supposed to taste of haselnuts (Crete) and its leaves can be eaten as greens (Turkey).
Crocus flowers have been depicted in minoic murals in Knossos and in Santorini. Both of them show the ritual of crocus gathering.


Joop Zand said...

Wonderful these crocus pictures.....colors are lovely.

warm greetings, Joop

Thanks for following my blog.

Δημοσθένης Ευσταθίου said...

Οι γνώσεις σου με εντυπωσιάζουν! Πλέον θέλω να μιλάμε μόνο για κοτηληδωνες και στίγματα