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Crocus Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Crocus Flower Meaning and Symbolism

The Crocus Flower

Crocus sativus belongs to the Iridaceae family and refers to saffron, one of the world’s most expensive spices, which comes from the Crocus stamens. Crocus is native to Southwest Asia and Southern Europe.

Brief History and Origin 

Crocus – Crocuses or Croci, for short – date back to the Minoan Crete culture of the Bronze Age (1500 BC). Women during this time wore Crocus florets in their hair as trinkets and as a source of dark red makeup.

Ancient Romans, Greeks, Jews, and Indians also feature the Crocus flower in many legends, myths, and folklore passed down through the ages. In addition, saffron has been used as a culinary spice dating back to the 10th century. 

Botanical Characteristics 

Crocus flowers are low-growing plants, reaching less than a foot in height. Most have bladed leaves. 

They produce flowers in royal purple to violet, white, mauve to deep red, pink, or red or purple striped white. Some species in the Crocus genus have a strong, heady aroma, while others have no smell.

How to Grow and Care For Crocus Flowers

You can grow Crocus flowers in USDA zones 3 through 8 in dry, well-drained soil. They can even thrive in rocky conditions. 

If you’re going to plant these in mixed beds, choose smaller partner plants to prevent them from getting overwhelmed. They do best in beds but need a wide, deep basin if you want to do container growth. 

Crocus needs a soil pH of 6 to 7, with full sun; they will tolerate partial shade. For the first week after planting, you’ll need to do weekly waterings. The soil should dry out completely between waterings. 

To feed your plants, choose slow-release granules. And only apply feed in the fall. If you’re caring for cut Crocus flowers, place your trimmings immediately in water. Then put in a few drops of vinegar so bacteria doesn’t grow in the water.

Uses and Benefits of the Crocus Flower 

The uses for Crocus flowers fall into three categories: medicinal (or herbal), for dyes or spice, or as an important source of pollen for bees.

Herbalism & Medicine 

Saffron has antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties that boost the immune system. But it does not have many other herbal uses. For example, some Chinese Traditional Medicine notes say that the spice can relieve stress due to a warm, calming effect. 

Saffron Crocuses for Spice and Dye 

Saffron Crocus is the most crucial species in the genus of 90 perennials. This plant’s three stigmas and other parts are popular for an orange to gold coloring dye, a tasty, colorful food spice, cosmetics, or fragrance. 

The harvesting process of saffron is very manual and lengthy, requiring everything done by hand. This hand-harvested technique results in making saffron the world’s most expensive spice. 

Toxicity and Bee Friendliness

Crokus flowers are a critical source of nectar for bees due to being an early to late bloomer. As one of the first flowers of spring, and with some species not blooming until fall when other plants have stopped flowering, Crocus serves as a valuable food source for bees. However, the plant has slight toxicity.

Symbolism of the Flower

Crocus comes from Krokos, Greek for saffron – Crocus sativus. The Crocus genus name can also come from crocatus – Latin for saffron yellow. The meaning of crocuses varies, with the main symbolisms being rebirth, cheerfulness, devotion, or youthfulness. The Crocus meaning can also change based on the flower color. 


White Crocus are symbolic of honesty, truth, and purity, replicating a Lotus for its beauty. A bouquet of white Croci sends a message of condolences for a grieving person or makes a humble approach. 

Some cultures associate White Crocuses with funerals. And other cultures use it for happy occasions like weddings. 


The purple crocus flower symbolizes hope, dignity, success, pride, youthfulness, and merriment, being the most preferred floral color for Crocus flowers. 

For example, use a purple Crocus to celebrate someone’s multiple years of partnership or service. A darker purple acknowledges wisdom.


A yellow crocus flower represents love, joy in life, and cheerfulness. 


Orange croci flowers mean hardiness and a warning for you not to abuse something or someone. 


Blue Crocus flowers represent disheartened or negative down in the dirt feelings and are often symbolic of your best days being over and gone.

Cultural Significance

Crocus flowers are culturally significant around the globe, largely valued for their rarity and vision, used for pigment, spice, and ornamental. 

Egyptians used croci to pigment robes worn during practices and religious rights. And as a wreath for wine chalices to have merry feasting and drinking. Romans also used croci for the adornment of private residences and banquet halls. 

In Korean customs, the spring Crocus is assigned the flower of January 31 and symbolizes the joy of being young. 

Crocus Spiritual Meaning 

Buddhist monks favored dying their robes yellow because they associated the Saffron flower meaning with humility and renunciation. 

Myths of Crocus 

One Greek myth links the origin of these flowers to a boy named Crocus, who had an affection for Smilax, a nymph. One legend says the boy died of a broken heart after the gods forbid his relationship. Then a flower grew where he died. 

But another Greek lore says that the gods rewarded Crocus for his unwavering and eternal love by turning him into the flower, giving him immortality. This myth ties into the symbolism of devotional and romantic associations, making them common for wedding ceremonies.     

Another Greek lore says that the Crocus flower is symbolic of feminine beauty, earned from a legend of the unrivaled beauty of Iphigenia. 

The Crocus appears in the Song of Solomon, a Jewish tradition. This flower is the symbol of spirituality and is dedicated to St. Valentine. And it regards the croci is the chief of spices.

Roman myths say that Crocus is an emblem of love, often used in love potions. The Roman Nero era listed Crocuses as cordial tonics and tokens of the heart. 

Indian lore considers saffron as death’s robe, a proclamation over death instead of being defeated in battle with dishonor and shame.

Crocus FAQ 

Read these commonly asked questions.

What Does the Spring Crocus Represent?

The spring Crocus symbolism 

What Is the Symbolism of a Crocus Tattoo?

You can get a Crocus tattoo to represent youthfulness. Or for one’s glee or excitement for a new chapter of life or season. It’s also symbolic of a Spring breeze. 

What Does ‘Crocus’ Mean?

Crocus translates to saffron.

What Is Special About the Crocus Flower?

The expensive and heady herb saffron comes from Crocus. 

Does the Crocus Flower Make a Good Gift? 

You can gift Crocus flowers for multiple events. For example, purple Crocus is suitable for job promotions, public recognitions, or business successes. 

Blue is suitable for a wordless encouragement for a friend experiencing a hard time. White is right for weddings, the birth of a child, or sometimes funerals. And yellow is for cheering up someone by spreading joy, energy, or youthfulness. 

Final Thoughts

Crocus is symbolic of rebirth, the anticipation of spring, an end to financial hardships, innocence, joy, youth, gladness, pleasure, and cheerfulness. Find these luscious and often fragrant saffron flowers in purple, blue, pink, red, yellow, or white.