2. Conservation and Multiplication (WP-04)

Most of the wild Crocus species are markedly entomophilous , fertile and seed producers. Nevertheless we will use the same method as for saffron for conservation of accessions; i.e. the maintenance of corms in vegetative form, in order to guarantee the genetic stability of material, avoiding hybridisation between accessions.

The corms obtained in the campaigns of recollection will be multiplied in the field with the aim of produce a suitable minimum amount that guaranties their long-term conservation in the germplasm bank and the supply to potential users. For the case of accessions of wild Crocus with scarce material, this will be previously multiplied in acclimatised greenhouse with the substrate of the collecting zone, in order to make sure the propagation of some material under the best conditions before the transference to the field, to minimize the risk of loss. In some cases the conservation/propagation in the greenhouse will continue.


Multiplication will be carried out in a fenced parcel in the experimental farm of the BGV of Cuenca (Partner 1), with a medium altitude between 950 an 1000 meters , medium temperature of 11.5º C, and a precipitation ranging from 550 to 600 mm mainly concentrated in spring and autumn. The edaphic characteristics in this parcel are typical of the area, sandy loams, alkaline pH (7.6-8.4), normal electric conductivity (<400mmhos/cm) and a low content in organic matter (1-2.5 %). Conventional labouring will be used to prepare soil for seeding (disk harrow, cultivator and rotary harrow). Each accession will be seeded in a 12 cm furrow; with 20 cm between plants and 40 cm amongst furrows. Weeding out will be carried out when required. The collection will be kept in the field indefinitely but every two years the corms of half furrow will be collected and reseeded to obtain supplying material. The other half furrow will be treated in the same way the next campaign.

In cases of Crocus accessions with low fertility, difficulties for conventional multiplication, or in cases of endangered and threatened taxa and populations we will develop methods for in vitro conservation (see point 5)

The Multiplication and Conservation Group (MCG, partners 0 , 1 , 6 and 9, with partner 1 as manager) is the responsible of this task, the main goal of the project: the maintenance and reproduction of the core collection of saffron and allies that should continue in the future with the settlement of replicas in other countries (e.g. Greece , and Italy).