The crocus is a root vegetable in the iris family (Iridaceae). Crocuses grow in mountainous areas around the Mediterranean Sea, including in the Balkans, but also in the Alps. Saffron is extracted from a specific type of crocus, the Crocus sativus, a species that does not occur in the wild, and is called the saffron crocus.
Because saffron is precious and there is a great demand for cheap saffron the market is flooded with fake saffron, in the form of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) or - in ground form - finely chopped plant fibers, colored with turmeric (Curcuma longa). But even when a saffron is genuine and verifiably from the saffron crocus, you should be wary. In any case, verify the test results (crochin level, for example). The golden rule is that you can recognize good saffron by its botanical name and the data according to ISO standards.