Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 299, Issue 10, pp 1859–1863

Crocus sativus L. genomics and different DNA barcode applications


  • Angelo Gismondi
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”
  • Federica Fanali
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”
  • Juan Manuel Martínez Labarga
    • Departamento de Producción Vegetal: Botánica y Protección Vegetal, Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal y del Medio Natural (EIFORNAT)Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)
  • Maria Grilli Caiola
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00606-013-0841-7

Cite this article as:
Gismondi, A., Fanali, F., Labarga, J.M.M. et al. Plant Syst Evol (2013) 299: 1859. doi:10.1007/s00606-013-0841-7


Crocussativus L. is a sterile species (3n) whose origin has not been yet clarified. A lot of morphological studies supported the theory that it would have been originated from the evolution, or the hybridization, of other Crocus exemplars, especially C. thomasii, C. hadriaticus and C. cartwrightianus. Crocus sativus stigmas are saffron raw source but, because of their high economic value, sometimes this spice is adulterated. By the application of the DNA barcode technique, we analyzed different Crocus species genomes and we partially clarified some aspects of the phylogeny of this genus: in particular, C. sativus possible genetic derivation was elucidated. Our results also showed that different C. sativus species might have evolved by independent events, probably due to several geographical pressures. We demonstrated that barcoding method, usually adopted for interspecific taxonomic identification, could be also applied to intraspecific and population studies. Finally, we proposed this molecular approach as scientific tool able to discriminate and certificate saffron authenticity.


AdulterationCrocus sativus L.DNA barcodePhylogenySaffron

Supplementary material

606_2013_841_MOESM1_ESM.doc (59 kb)
Electronic supplementary material 1 Lists of accessions, registered in NCBI (Nucleotide Scientific Databank, that matched with nucleotide sequence obtained by ITS barcode gene PCR amplification (Fig. 2) of DNA extracted from a saffron commercial sachet. (DOC 59 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013