late 14c., from L. crocus, from Gk. krokos "saffron, crocus," probably of Semitic origin (cf. Arabic kurkum), ult. from Skt. kunkumam. The autumnal crocus (Crocus sativa) was a common source of yellow dye in Roman times, and was perhaps grown in England, where the word existed as O.E. croh, but this form of the word was forgotten by the time the plant was re-introduced in Western Europe by the Crusaders.