saf'-run (karkom; krokos): Identical with the Arabic kurqum, the same as za`faran, "saffron." The source of the true saffron is Crocus sativus (Natural Order, Indaceae), a plant cultivated in Palestine; there are 8 wild varieties in all of which, as in the cultivated species, the orange-colored styles and stigmas yield the yellow dye, saffron. Song 4:14 probably refers to the C. sativus. There is a kind of bastard saffron plant, the Carthamus tinctorius (Natural Order, Compositae), of which the orange-colored flowers yield a dye like saffron.
E. W. G. Masterman