Crocus sativus (Saffron)
The most expensive spice of the world
It is known as the most expensive spice of the world - no wonder, one needs to pull the appendices of the style to generate by cumbersome effort a bit of saffron. This Crocus species is cultivated, where it is dry and where labour is cheap. Big producers are Iran and Afghanistan, but also Marocco and in former times also Andalusia. Not astonishingly, True Saffron is rare and surrogated by many things, often even completely replaced by fake products. It lends a beautiful gold colour during cooking and baking - "Saffron gives yellow to the cake" runs an old nursery rhyme. It cannot be drawn from seeds, because it is triploid, i.e., it has three chromosome sets, and, therefore, needs to be propagated by brood bulbs.
Especially in Persian medicine, Saffron is highly valued. The decisive aroma compound, the aldehyde safranal, is responsible for the antidepressive effect of Saffron. Safranal blocks the breakdown of the messenger compound serotonin in our synapses, such that the serotonin levels rise and one feels better again.