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In Crocus sativus, or saffron crocus, the most commercially important part is stigma of flowers. Each plant produces one flower (so there is more than one plant in this picture) and each flower has three stigmas (stigmas are red in this picture). What are your agricultural, horticultural and... suggestions to produce more stigma in a plant? What are your genetic engineering and biotechnological suggestion and experiences?

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For plants generally, the following three things help plants flower and fruit more:

  • Red light
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus

Both potassium and phosphorus are supposed to play a role in flowering, fruit and fruit size. If your plants have enough of those, more red light might help.

I don't know if this is true, but I heard a rumor on some Amazon reviews that worm castings help a lot, too. Maybe it's the microbes or humic acid helping with something there. You might get worms in your soil, though, if you use those. The aeration from the worms might help with flowering (but that's just a hypothesis). I've also heard that if you're not careful, you can give your plants too much nitrogen with worm castings. So, don't use very much if you try that.

I'm not familiar with the requirements of Crocus sativus. So, take this as you will. I'm not sure about your stigma question.

You might try biology.stackexchange.com for your genetics and botany questions. They actually do have people actively asking stuff you might think should be here at first glance (unless you're familiar with what is considered an acceptable question on each site). EDIT: I see you already asked there, too! :)

In light of your other answers, I'm going to say this: Plant a whole lot of these (you probably want to grow them from seed, instead of from bulbs, since bulbs are probably genetically the same as the parent plants), and look for mutants. :) Seriously. It might work. I got a cool mutant Chocolate Habanero pepper the other week. I planted a bunch of them. It had like a neon purple stem and white seed leaves. Too bad it died. I also got a tricot Diamond eggplant, similarly.

I recommend planting at least 2000 viable seeds.

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    Unfortunately, crocus sativus is infertile due to a triploid chromosome set - planting seeds is not possible. They can be only grown from corms. – Stephie Apr 7 '15 at 12:22
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    Controlled daylight hours and temperature is another way to force flowers. – J. Musser Apr 10 '15 at 10:56
  • @J.Musser Ah. I've heard that a certain squash begins to fruit when the days are shorter. That makes sense. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Apr 10 '15 at 23:43
  • For cucumbers, I've found that snipping off the top of the one vine so it branches out also brings on flowers faster. That's probably not applicable here, though. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Apr 10 '15 at 23:45
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'Each produces one flower' isn't strictly true - when grown under commercial conditions as a crop, in ideal conditions, the first year around 60% of the bulbs produce a single flower - for the following two years, many of those bulbs will produce two flowers each. After that, twin flowering is less likely. There is no way to increase the number of stigma within each flower, it's genetically programmed to produce three, though I imagine its possible some biotech giant might be troubling to perform genetic manipulation in an attempt to change that particular bit of genetic code.

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  • What would happen if you doubled the chromosomes? – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Apr 7 '15 at 9:22
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    @Shule - pass, no idea, not my field, not interested in GM in any way, shape or form, its just man thinking he can rule everything and anything. I wouldn't be using any GM product produced anywhere myself, but then I'm in the UK and we feel strongly about it here. I prefer the old fashioned horticultural 'natural' methods of crossing and re crossing to produce something new... – Bamboo Apr 7 '15 at 9:25
  • I also think what we don't know about GM products, is much more than what we know about them. – MySky Apr 7 '15 at 10:09

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