The technical name of the flower is Crocus Sativus and you cannot find it in the wild because it is incapable of reproducing it self without human intervention. It is in fact a sterile plant and its harvest is concentrated in October and November. You have few hours at disposal to collect it at the very first light of dawn. That is, before the sun penetrates between the petals and moisture dissolves the fragrance of pistils.
The flower consists of six petals with a delicate purple color. It has three yellow stamens and three fire red stigmas. Stamens are the male part of the flower, the female one, which is also the most important part, is represented by the stigmas. They’re joined to the base. It is from the stigmas that you get saffron. Here lies the aroma, the flavor and the coloring power.
Do you know how many flowers it takes to get a gram of saffron? 150!!
The hands separating the stigmas from the flower during harvesting must be very delicate and experienced. The first processing in fact, greatly affects yield and quality of the spice once it gets dried.
In Iran the filaments are dried at room temperature, under the sun. In Italy, drying is carried out by aerated furnaces. In general, faster drying systems using hot air produce filaments with shorter length and volume than the spice obtained from dehydration at room temperature.