The colours – gorgeous, deep purple, petals.

Bright red stigmas sprouting from the base of the flower – creating an amazing colour contrast.

This is the saffron crocus – the flower producing the world’s most expensive spice, saffron.

The statistics of what it takes to produce saffron are staggering.

Each flower has to be carefully harvested by hand to avoid breaking the little bars of red gold – given saffron costs up to $5,000 (U.S.) a pound.

It takes about 170,000 flowers that need to be harvested to net one pound of saffron.

Most saffron is grown in Iran, Greece, Morocco, and India. 

For thousands of years saffron been sought after – as, medicine, a spice, a dye and for cooking.