Hebrew: karkom, Arabic: zafran (i.e., “yellow”)

This word is mentioned only in Song of Songs 4:13-14, the Crocus sativus. Many species of the crocus are found in the Land of Israel. The pistils and stigmata, from the center of its flowers, are pressed into “saffron cakes,” common in the East. “We found,” says Tristram, “saffron a very useful condiment in traveling cookery, a very small pinch of it giving not only a rich yellow color but an agreeable flavour to a dish of rice or to an insipid stew.” —Henry Baker Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible

Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.