from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A monoterpene glycoside precursor of safranal, responsible for the bitter taste of saffron.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A bitter crystalline glucoside, C38H66O17, extracted from saffron. When hydrolyzed it yields glucose and a terpene, C10H16. It melts at 75° C.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
When the stigmas dry out and their cell structures are damaged, both the drying heat and an enzyme act on picrocrocin to liberate the hydrocarbon portion, which is a volatile terpene called safranal.
It arises largely from another sugar-hydrocarbon combination, picrocrocin, which may be up to 4% of the fresh weight of the stigmas, and is probably a defense against insects and other predators.