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Crocus cartwrightianus


Crocus cartwrightianus is native and endemic in southern Greece with the center of Attica and spreads on the axis Attiki (and Salamina, Aegina), Cyclades (Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos, Tinos, Syros, Kea) and Chania. C. cartwrightianus is the wild ancestor of Crocus sativus that Its dried dots give the saffron, a very expensive product (to produce a kilo of saffron need 150,000 crocus flowers). The bibliography states that John Cartwright, a British consul in Istanbul, sent a plant from Tinos to herbalist Herbert Spencer, who published his scientific description and to honor the consul gave the plant his name. In later years Greek traders from Vienna brought bulbs to Kozani area (West Macedonia /Northern Greece) for cultivation. Crocus of Kozani, has bigger "spots" but is infertile.


Rocky sites, low shrubs and sparse pine forests, at altitudes from sea level up to 1,000 m. Blooms from October to December. Fragrant flowers usually purple-lilac (also appear white flowers) with dark ribbons. Flowers do not close at night.


The last picture is ... the same as the first, with a festive wrap for the upcoming holiday.

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Tania17 a year ago

You are welcome Brian!
On page 353 of the pdf you can find out how the word for the plant 'Crocus' was written in Linear B!

Brian38 a year ago

That is an amazing picture of an ancient wall fresco that truly speaks volumes all on it's own. Thank you Tania very much for sharing this !!

Tania17 a year ago

Thanks Neil and Michael.

If anyone is interested, they can see "Saffron-Gatherers" here:

and read more about "Crocus Motif in the Aegean Bronze Age" here:

Michael Strydom
Michael Strydom a year ago

Congrats on SOTD! Really pretty shot!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Congratulations, Tania. This is a lovely spotting.

Tania17 a year ago

Thank you Felix!

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck a year ago

Nice spotting! Congrats.

Tania17 a year ago

Thank you all so much!
It was great, for me too, to learn the stories about this important plant.

Brian38 a year ago

Congratulations Tania! Beautiful pictures and interesting notes!

Bautiful series Tania,congrats on the SOTD and thanks for sharing

DanielePralong a year ago

Congratulations Tania: your Crocus cartwrightianus is our Spotting of the Day! Glad to learn where saffron is coming from!

"As the Northern Hemisphere is about to enter the winter season, our Spotting of the Day brings us a last touch of late autumn warmth and spice from Greece: Crocus cartwrightianus is our Spotting of the Day! Named after John Cartwright, a 19th century British Consul to Constantinople, this crocus species is the most likely candidate as the wild progenitor of the domesticated Crocus sativus – the saffron crocus. Saffron is made from the long stigmas and styles of Crocus sativus flowers, and is one the world's most costly spices by weight.
Spotted in Attica, Greece, by Tania Zach. For more images and information:
On Project Noah Tania maintains a mission dedicated to the biodiversity of Attica. Despite thousands of years of habitation and continuous human activity, Attica remains diverse in life forms, habitats, landscapes, with even new species to discover. Check it out: "



Spotted by

Αττική, Greece

Spotted on Nov 20, 2018
Submitted on Dec 9, 2018

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