Saffron (pronounced /ˈsæfrən/, /ˈsæfrɒn/; Persian: زَعْفَرَان) is a spice derived from the dried stigma of the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant's carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and coloring agent. Saffron, which has for decades been the world's most expensive spice by weight, is native to Southwest Asia.(Source: Wikipedia)
Visit my Sur La Table Cuisine blog to see how I use dried Saffron in Persian dishes.
2nd photo by James Holts via Gourmet Sleuth