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Iris Family

Other Economic Products

The world's most expensive spice is said to be saffron, a yellow substance made from the blue-flowered saffron crocus (Crocus sativa) of the eastern Mediterranean region. The major expense of saffron is in labor costs because it takes the floral parts 600-800 crocus flowers to make 0.035 oz (1 dry gram) of the spice. Saffron is mainly used to flavor foods and also as a yellow colorant of certain cooked foodstuffs, as in saffron rice.

The rhizomes of the orris (Iris florentina) are used to manufacture perfumes and cosmetics. The rhizomes must be peeled and dried before their odor, much like that of violets (Viola spp.), will develop.



Judd, Walter S., Christopher Campbell, Elizabeth A. Kellogg, Michael J. Donoghue, and Peter Stevens. Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Suderland, MD: Sinauer, 2002.

Klein, R. M. The Green World: An Introduction to Plants and People. New York: Harper and Row, 1987.

Raven, Peter, R. F. Evert, and Susan Eichhorn. Biology of Plants. 6th ed. New York: Worth Publishers Inc., 1998.

Bill Freedman


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—An underground, thickened stem with many fleshy leaves surrounding a bud and fibrous roots emerging from the bottom. New shoots develop from bulbs at the beginning of the growing season.


—A thick, broad, vertically growing, underground stem that is covered with papery leaves and from which new shoots develop at the beginning of the growing season.


—A distinct variety of a plant that has been bred for particular, agricultural or culinary attributes. Cultivars are not sufficiently distinct in the genetic sense to be considered to be subspecies.


—A grouping or arrangement of florets or flowers into a composite structure.


—This is a modified stem that grows horizontally in the soil and from which roots and upward-growing shoots develop at the stem nodes.


—The part of the female organs of a plant flower (the pistil) upon which pollen lands in the first stage of fertilization.


—A stalk that joins the pollen-receptive surface of the stigma, to the ovary of the female organ of a plant (i.e., the pistil). Fertilization actually occurs in the ovary, which is reached by the male gametes through growth of an elongate pollen-tube from the pollen grain.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Intuitionist logic to KabbalahIris Family - Biology Of Irises, Native Species Of North America, Horticultural Irises, Other Economic Products