Airplant and Spice and Everything Nice

Saffron is known as the world's most expensive spice (up to US$11,000/kg).  It is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus).  The dried stigmas are used as a seasoning and colouring agent for various dishes. It also makes the dish aromatic. 

Saffron Threads. Rainer Zenz grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.Among the airplants, one species was named after saffron.  Originally named Phytarrhiza crocata by Charles Edouard Morren, it was renamed Tillandsia crocata by John Gilbert Baker in 1887.  

Tillandsia crocata, with "crocata" meaning "like saffron yellow".  It is a plant native to Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina and grows in these regions saxicolously (on rocks). 

I am not sure though if T. crocata is edible and I don't want to conduct a cooking experiment to find out as I have only two specimens of this very slow growing plant.

Tillandsia flowers are usually purple or violet in color and scentless, thus the flowers of this Tillandsia are quite unique.  

Just like saffron imparts color and aroma to a dish, the T. crocata's flower adds beauty through its saffron yellow color and by giving off the strongest and most wonderful fragrance of any Tillandsia.  

As you can see in the picture, its leaves are densely covered with trichomes (scales). They are long, slim and slightly curving.  One needs to ensure that the leaves dry completely after watering. Even if its trichomes are highly evolved, I was told that it is difficult for the plant to retain water given the size of its leaves.

My plant receives approximately 3 hours of full morning sun.  I water it every other day.

Doesn't it have a beautiful flower?  The fragrance it releases is very sweet and enchanting.  The intensity of the perfume is amazing given the tiny size of the flower (~4mm).  If only the internet can develop enough to allow scents to be uploaded, I'm sure you will all agree with me.


For more Macro Monday goodness, head on over to Lisa's Chaos:



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