As of 2014, 90 percent of the world's saffron supply is grown and harvested in Iran. The plant originated in the Middle East and Greece and grows primarily in Mediterranean regions. It is, however, an adaptable plant and has been successfully grown in New Zealand and India.
Saffron is the stigma of the Crocus sativus flower. The flower has bright purple petals and three burnt-orange stigmas. The spice is difficult to harvest and is harvested only by hand because of the delicacy of the stigmas. It takes about 75,000 Crocus sativa flowers to produce 1 pound of the spice, which as of 2014, was valued at around $5,000.