MAURO FERMARIELLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MAURO FERMARIELLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Saffron flower (Crocus sativa). Saffron is grown for its bright red stigmas, the tops of which can be seen surrounded by purple petals. Each flower has three long stigma branches that originate in the ovary (not seen) in the base of the flower. The stigma, style and ovary form the carpel, or female reproductive structure of the flower (although Crocus sativa is sterile and must be propagated through corms). The stigmas are used to colour and flavour food. Saffron may be taken as a herbal remedy to treat indigestion, rheumatism and colds. Historically, it was used to make dyes for paints and fabrics.
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