Allover Crete we meet five different species of saffron (crocus). The most common kind of it is Crocus laevigatus, the "smooth" crocus. It is called smooth in Greek because the robes of the bulb are smooth. It is endemic to southern Greece, Cyclades and Crete.
Flowering starts in autumn, usually in October, and lasts until the middle of winter, while in the island of Naxos it blooms in spring. The species is considered edible and is not poisonous. It has nice and pleasant scent and its habitat spreads over a large part of Crete, from sea level to the mountainous alpine zone.
It generally prefers arid and rocky soils and the cracks of rocks. The flowers can vary from purple to blue, but in Crete it is almost always white and the anthers are white.
The characteristic of smmoth crocus is that it has dark stripes on the outer side of the petals, opposed to Crocus boryi, another common crocus in Crete.
Text - Photos Christopher Chiladakis