Effect of drought stress, corm size and corm tunic on morphoecophysiological characteristics of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) in greenhouse conditions

Document Type : Scientific - Research


Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


In order to investigate the effects of corm tunic, corm weight and drought stress on saffron (Crocus sativus L.), an experiment was conducted at the greenhouse of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. Treatment were combination of four corm weights range (2-4, 4-6, 6-8 and 8-10 g), two levels of water availability (100% field capacity and drought) and two levels of corm tunic (natural corm with tunic and without tunic) as factorial arrangement based on completely randomized block design with three replications. The corms were divided to four groups based on their weights and removed tunics of corm in tunic free treatment. Results indicated that the highest biomass produced in irrigation, corms with tunic with maximum weight. Both chlorophyll a and b contents decreased significantly under drought stress and chlorophyll b content was 50% of chlorophyll a content. Effect of corm size and corm tunic and interaction of these treatments imposed a significant effect on the leaf number per plant, leaf weight and chlorophyll content. Effect of corm tunic in 8-10 g corm size increased ch (a)/ch (b) ratio and leaf number. The relative water content was decreased in drought treatment in both tunic and tunicless treatments and the best corm weight in all treatment was 6-8g and could be useful to tolerate drought stress.


1- Aitoubahou, A., and El-Otmani, M. 1999. Saffron cultivation in Morocco. In: Neghbi, M. (Ed.), Saffron. Harwood Academic Publication, pp. 73–87.
2- Azizi-Zehan, A.A., Kamgar-Haghighi, A.A., and Sepaskhah A.R. 2006. Effect of Irrigation Method and frequency on corm and saffron production (Crocus sativus L.). The Journal of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources 10(1): 45-54.
3- Azizi-Zehan, A.A., Kamgar-Haghighi, A.A., and Sepaskhah A.R. 2008. Crop and pan coefficients for saffron in a semi-arid region of Iran. Journal of Arid Environments 72: 270–278.
4- Beltrano, J., and Ronco, M.G. 2008. Improved tolerance of wheat plants (Triticum aestivum L.) to drought stress and rewatering by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus claroideum: Effect on growth and cell membrane stability. Brazilian Journal of Plant Physiology 20(1): 29-37.
5- Gholami Turanposhti, M., Maghsoodi moud, A.A., and Farahbakhsh. H. 2006. Effect of two levels of irrigation on water relations of three Iranian saffron (Crocus sativus L.) clones. In: Proceeding of the 3th Confernce of Irriagation management of water and soil. Kerman, Iran. Pp.1780-1787.
6- Goliaris, A.H. 1999. Saffron cultivation in Greece. In: Neghbi, M., (Eds.), Saffron. Harwood Academic. Pub., The Netherland. Pp.73-83.
7- Gregory, P.J. 1988. Root growth of chickpea, faba bean, lentil and pea and effcets of water and salt stresses. Pp. 857-867. In: R.J. Summer Field (Eds.), World Crops: Cool Season Food Legumes. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
8- Gresta, F., Avola, G., Lombardo, G.M., Siracusa, L., and Ruberto, G. 2008. Analysis of flowering, stigmas yield and qualitative traits of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) as affected by environmental conditions. Scientia Horticulturae.
9- Gupta, U.S. 1984. Crop improvement for drought resistance. Current Agriculture 8:1-5.
10- Hussain, M.M., Reid, J.B., Othman, H., and Gallagher, Y.N. 1990. Growth and water use of Faba beans (Vicia faba) in a subhumid climate. I. Root and shoot adaptation to drought stress. Field Crops Research 23:1-17.
11- Kafi, M., Rashed-Mohassel, M.H., Koocheki, A., and Mollafilabi, A. 2006. Saffron, Production and Processing Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran Press. (In Persian)
12- Mahmood S., Iram Sh., and Athar H.R. 2003. Intra- specific various quantitative and qualitative attributes under differential salt region. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 14:177-186.
13- Mashayekhi, K., and Latifi, N. 1997. Investigation of the effect of corm's weight on saffron flowering. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Science 28(1): 97- 105.
14- Minchin, F.R., Summerfield, R.J., Hadley, P., and Roberts, E.H. 1980: Growth, longevity and nodulation of roots in relation to seed yield in Chickpea. Journal of Experimental Agriculture 16:24-61.
15- Mollafilabi, A. 2004. Experimental findings of production and echo physiological aspects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.). Acta Horticulture 650:195–200.
16- Mosaferi, H. 2002. The Effect of different irrigation regimes on saffron yield. M.Sc. Thesis. Fac. Agric. Ferdowsi Univ Mashhad., Iran. (In Persian with English Summary)
17- Negbie, M. 1999: Saffron: Crocus sativus L. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – industrial profiles. Amsterdam, Harwood Academic Publishers.
18- Nour, A.E.M., and Weibel, D.E. 1978. Evaluation of root characteristics in grain Sorghum. Agronomy Journal 70: 217-218.
19- Sabet Teimouri, M., Kafi, M., Avarseji, Z., and Orooji, K. 2009. Investigation of drought stress levels on leaf chlorophyll content in saffron. 3th International Symposium on Saffron Biology and Technology, Kozani, Greece. Pp. 333.
20- Sadeghi, B. 1997. Effect of storage and sowing date of corm on saffron flowering. Organisation of Scientific and Industrial of Iran, Research Center of Khorasan.(In persion).
21- Sartory, D.P., and Grobbelaar, J.U. 1984. Extraction of chlorophyll a from freshwater phytoplankton for spectrophotometric analysis. Hydrobiologia 114: 177-187.
22- Shi Q., Bao, Z., Zhu, Z., Ying, Q., and Qian, Q. 2006. Effects of different treatments of salicylic acid on heat tolerance, chlorophyll fluorescence, and antioxidant enzyme activity in seedlings of Cucumis sativa L. Plant Growth Regulation 48: 127–135.
23- Singh, D.N., Massod Ali, R.I., and Basu, P.S. 2000. Genetic variation in dry matter partitioning in shoot and root influences of Chickpea to drought. 3rd International Crop Science Congress 2000. Hamburg - Germany.
24- Slama, I., Messedi, D., Ghnaya, T., Savour, A., and Abdelly, Ch. 2005. Effect of water deficit on growth and proline metabolism in Sesuvium portulacastrum. Environmental and Experimental Botany 56(3): 231-238