Tag Archives: Akrotiri







Structure of picrocrocin:[28]

  βDglucopyranose derivative
  safranal moiety


A detail from the “Saffron Gatherers” fresco of the “Xeste 3” building. It is one of many depicting saffron; they were found at the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri, on the Aegean island of Santorini.

Saffron is a plant native to Asia Minor, where for centuries it has been cultivated for its aromatic orange-yellow stigmas—one of the world’s most expensive spices. When handpicked and dried, the stigmas yield saffron powder, the source of the principal yellow dye of the ancient world. The plant is still grown in limited quantities for the powder, which is used in medicines and perfumes and for flavoring. How many flowers must be harvested to produce one pound (0.45 kg) of dry saffron? More… Discuss