Saffron Status and Cultivation in North Western Himalayas
Gupta R. K.
Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Directorate of Research, Main campus, Chatha–180009, Jammu, India.
Saffron (Crocus sativus L) is cultivated for its red stigmatic lobes that constitute the high valued saffron of commerce. It is characterized by bitter taste and hay like fragrance caused by chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains carotenoid dye, called crocin that gives food a rich golden yellow hue. It is commonly known as saffron (English); Keshara Kulnkuma, Aruna, Asra, Asrika (Sanskrit); Zafran (Urdu); Kong (Kashmiri); Kesar, Zaffran (Hindi); Kesar, Zafran (Punjabi); Jafran (Bengali); Kesara (Marathi); Kungumpu (Tamil); Kunkumakesari (Kannada); and Kunkumapuva (Telgu). The annual production of saffron in India ranges from 13–15 tonnes from an area of about 6000 hectares. Almost entire cultivation of saffron is confined to Jammu and Kashmir State and to some extent in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal.