Saffron has also been used as a fabric dye.
In England during the 15th - 18th centuries, saffron was grown extensively in parts of Cambridgeshire and Essex. The Essex town of Saffron Walden got its name from being a market center for the saffron trade.
Spain and India are major producers of saffron. Saffron owes its fantastic price to the difficulty of extracting the stamens of the crocus individually by hand and how many it takes to make up a given weight, because they are so small. To make a pound of saffron requires approximately 25,000 stamens; each crocus contributes three.
Saffron is, at least superficially, the subject of Donovan's song "Mellow yellow".