312. Molina RV, Guardiola JL, García-Luis D, Renau-Morata B, Sanchis E, González-Nebauer S, de los Mozos M, Rodríguez-Conde MF, Santana O, Pastor-Férriz MT, Fernández JA, Santaella M, Roldán M, Tsimidou M, Polissiou M, Heslop-Harrison JS, Branca F, Mathew B. 2015. Descriptors for Crocus (Crocus spp.). 74pp. Bioversity International, Rome. ISBN-13: 978-92-9043-999-8
Abstract and summary:
Conservation of saffron and allies is particularly concerning because of the shrinking of their populations both in the wild and in cultivated areas. In this regard, the descriptors developed for these species represent a valuable instrument for a better comprehension of these dwindling resources in support of their enhanced conservation and use and following the international agreed protocol of Bioversity International. A list of descriptors based on evaluation studies carried out on saffron and Crocus accessions and taking into account taxonomic criteria for this genus have been developed within the framework of the EU funded Programme AGRI GEN RES, (Action 018, www.crocusbank.org), coordinated by the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). One of the main achievements of this Programme has been the creation of the World Saffron and Crocus Collection, maintained by the Bank of Plant Germplasm of Cuenca, which belongs to the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla – La Mancha (Spain).
The Crocus genus is part of the Iridaceae family and consists of more than 88 corm-bearing perennial species distributed from Central and Southern Europe, to North Africa, Southwest Asia and Western China, with the centre of species diversity located in Asia Minor and the Balkan Peninsula (Mathew 1982; Goldblatt et al., 2008; Petersen et al., 2008; Harpke et al., 2013). Many Crocus species are highly appreciated as garden plants for their colourful flowers, but the genus is mainly known for the species C. sativus, commercially cultivated for the production of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice (Fernández 2004). Saffron has been widely known since the pre-Hellenic and Hellenic periods.
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