Planta Med 2010; 76 - P396
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1264694

The effect of corm weight on saffron (Crocus sativus L.) production in Saudi Arabia

M Sharaf-Eldin 1, J Fernández 2, A Al-Khedhairi 3
  • 1Alkharj University, College of Sciences and Humanitarian Studies and National Research Centre (NRC), Biology, P.O. Box 83, 11942 Alkharj, Saudi Arabia
  • 2University of Castilla-La Mancha, School of Agronomy (ETSIA) & Group of Biotechnology (IDR), Campus Universitario s/n, 02071 Albacete, Spain
  • 3Alkharj University, College of Sciences and Humanitarian Studies, P.O. Box 83, 11942 Alkharj, Saudi Arabia

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the highest consumer countries for saffron spice. Last year in the local market the price for one kg of saffron spice reached 18,000 SR (˜US$ 5,000). Here we report for the first time the cultivation of saffron in the KSA in particularly at Alkharj Governorate. The effect of corm weight on saffron production was investigated under Alkharj governorate cultivation conditions, KSA. Corms of Crocus sativus L. (Iridaceae) of Spanish origin (accession #: BCU001584 from Minaya, Albacete, Spain) were provided by Professor J.A. Fernández (Biotechnology IDR, University of CastillaLa Mancha, Albacete, Spain). Three different corm weights as CW1: >10g, CW2: ≥5g –≤10g and CW3: <5g were studied. The higher weight of saffron corms increased the number of leaves per corm. The maximum mean values of leave length were obtained as a result of lesser weight of saffron corms weighting <5g. The highest number of sprouts was observed with the use of saffron corms weighting >10g. None of the three corm weights produced saffron flowers, that might because of planting date was too late in December, while the flowering period is mainly in November. Daughter corms have been produced by the three different corm weights. The higher weight of saffron corm increased the number of daughter corms, up to three daughter corms per mother corm were produced at the end of May.

Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge Mr. Abdullah L. Al-Onazi and Mr. Ali Ibrahim for help in professional photographing and field work, respectfully.

References: 1. Sharaf-Eldin, M. et al. (2008) Planta Med. 74: 1316–1320.