Botanical features of saffron
Morphologically, the features of saffron include the morphology of leaves, stigmas, styles, petals, sepals, bulbs (soukh in Persian), and spathe.
Leaf characteristics: Leaves are usually 10-40 centimeters long, pointed, the upper side is darker than the underside, and their shape varies in different cultivars. The underside of leaves is bright and of different colors in various species. Thickness of leaves varies and different cultivars including Khazari, Zagrosi, Sephid, Banafsh, Ziba, and Joghasem have leaves of different thicknesses.
Stigma: Color of stigmas varies from red to pale orange depending on their carotenoid and lycopene contents. Stigmas are three-pronged and may be of equal length with, shorter, or longer than styles (of which there are also three in each flower). Moreover, stigmas may be of the same length as, shorter, or longer, than petals in various Iranian cultivars. The bottom edge of each stigma is folded and much more distinct in some cultivars, and its mouth varies from wide to narrow depending on the cultivar. The stigma is folded at the bottom edge, more distinctly in some cultivars, with the width of the opening varying from wide to thin (depending on the cultivar). The terminal edge of the stigma has white streaks varying in color from bright to dull white.
Style: Styles are yellow and vary in color intensity, depending on their carotenoid content, from deep yellow in some cultivars like the Khazari cultivar to paler yellow in others such as the Zagrosi cultivar.
Petals/sepals: Petals and sepals are also of varying thickness with three petals and three sepals in each flower.
Corolla: The corolla consists of three petals and three sepals, which are all violet so that it is difficult to distinguish them from each other. Each flower has three stamens with the filaments being twice as long as the anther. The anther is yellow, the pistil is located in the center of the flower, and there is one ovary with one thin style coming out of it. The style is long, oblong, pale yellow ending in a transparent orange red three-pronged stigma that is 2-3 centimeters long. After the three stigmas and the style are dried, they form the commercial saffron.