I.A. Khan
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is a temperate, medicinal and low growing herb. Its dried stigma is used as bio-medicine, dyes and perfumes. All allies of genus Crocus are diploid but Crocus sativus L. is a triploid in genetic make up (2n = 3x = 24). Due to triploidy, meiosis in C. sativus is highly erratic and genetically unbalanced gametes are formed which lead to the formation of sterile gametes and ultimately no sexuality is involved which is an essential phenomenon for seed production. Due to absence of sexuality in Saffron, a non conventional mutation breeding was initiated to develop improved mutants of Saffron at Horticulture Research Centre, Chaubatia, Almora, India, located in the Himalayan region. Corms with different doses of gamma rays (Co60) were subjected to induce the variability in Saffron. Five sets, each consisting of 100 uniform corms of 5-6 g in weight, were irradiated with 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 krad doses of gamma rays. Variability in respect of sprouting time, plant height, induction of flowering, shape of petals and number of filaments in a stigma was noted. Plants exhibiting mutations were identified and bulbs produced from mutants were harvested separately to further the generations. An outstanding mutant which was isolated was, a mutant with five branched stigma, instead of three as in normal plants. On evaluating this mutant, it was found superior in respect of number of branches in stigma. Average length of filaments in five branched stigma noted to be 2.75 cm whereas in three branched stigma it is 2.70 cm. Dry weight of normal three branched stigma is 5 mg. whereas in five branched stigma it was noted to be 6.950 mg which is higher than control. Development of 5 branched stigmas is the result of gene mutation due to induction effect.
Khan, I.A. (2007). DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH YIELDING SAFFRON MUTANT. Acta Hortic. 739, 255-257
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2007.739.31
5-branched stigma, mutation, triploidy

Acta Horticulturae