Saffron Cultivation; impact of corm density and fertilization treatment

02 November 2019


Crocus sativus L. (Saffron “زعفران) (Iridaceae), the most expensive spice in the world, is annual herbaceous historically cultivated in the Mediterranean region. In recent years, Saffron has gained a very interesting role as an alternative crop in low-input agricultural systems and semi-arid regions. Previous studies in Lebanon have indicated that both corm size and density had significant positive impact on yield. In a continuation of previous investigations by Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) on the plant, a new set of more comprehensive experimental trails has been developed in the present joint study of LARI and BAU aiming at better understanding the effect of density, corm volume and fertilization treatment on saffron productivity under open-field rain fed farm conditions. These trails were performed at the experimental station of the BAU Research Center for Environment and Development. The source of corms is Khalil Wehbi farm in El Qa’a, North Bekaa. A randomized complete block design with three/four replications with an area of 2*2 m2 / plot and corms in the range of 22 mm - 31 mm in diameter diameter is used. Prior to plantation, the texture and quality soil of the experimental field have been analysed at the laboratories of LARI in Tal El Aamara. Results indicated a texture of sand (13%), silt (21%) and clay (66%) and poor contents of organic matter, N, P, and Na. To avoid water retention, corms have been planted under raised bed conditions of 15 cm height with furrows of 25 cm depth at all sides each plot (Figure 1). Plantation was performed at the beginning of November (2 and 3), 2018 and production has been since assessed in terms of numbers of flowers, fresh and air-dry weight of stigma.