# Saffron Production

So, Wikipedia, that infallible font of information, says the following under the “saffron” article:

Annually, around 300 tonnes of saffron are produced worldwide.

and

A pound (454 grams) of dry saffron requires 50,000–75,000 flowers, the equivalent of a football field’s area of cultivation (110,000-170,000 flowers or two football fields for a kilogram)

Using my Grade 12 math skills, one tonne [metric] is equal to 2,204.6 pounds, putting the annual production at 661,380 pounds.

This means that the annual, worldwide saffron production requires, on the low end, 33,069,000,000 flowers and, at the high end, 49,603,500,000 flowers.

This also means that the equivalent of 661,380 football fields are used worldwide, which [using an American football field] converts to about 1,366 square miles.

Not much to ask here, other than: does this sound right, and is my math right? The Wiki article seems properly cited, so I have no real reason to doubt the figures. For a flower that presumably blooms once per year, the idea of 50 billion flowers, especially for a spice that is so darn expensive, seems incredible to me.

Thanks,
Greg

The world is a big place.
1,366 square miles is only a square 37 miles on a side, which doesn’t sound too big when you think of the huge amount of land in Iran, Spain and India - all major Saffron producers.
There are lots of pictures of saffron fields like this on the web.

Also, the reason that the spice is so expensive is because of the amount of labor required to harvest it, not the plant itself.

Saffron is usually used in tiny amounts - a paella recipe that feeds eight might call for a quarter of a gram. That means the world’s annual production would be enough for 9.6 billion servings of paella. Each serving would use the saffron collected from 4.3 flowers.