Saffron comes from a species of crocus plant known as crocus sativus. The plant is native to Greece and the Middle East. The Greeks were the first to recognize the plant's potential as a spice.
Saffron derives from the stigmas of the crocus plant. The plant originally only grew in Greece and parts of the Middle East, but many countries in North America, Central America, Africa and Oceania now grow the saffron crocus to harvest the expensive spice. The plant's native habitat still produces most of the world's saffron supply. Specifically, Iran, Greece, India, Italy and Spain are the largest producing countries.