The Talmud records that 16 maneh of saffron were used in compounding the Incense. One maneh is equal to approximately 20 ounces, so 16 maneh would equal 320 ounces, or 20 pounds of saffron. If this does not sound like an inordinate amount of spice, consider how saffron is obtained.
|Crocus sativus (common crocus)|
with bright crimson stigmas
To produce the 20 pounds of saffron used in the Temple for the Incense, a staggering 1.3 million flowers were needed. Based on modern planting densities used in the Mediterranean (see this article, under "Cultivation"), the amount of land required to grow this many flowers is 12.7 acres. For comparison, the entire Temple Mount (which measures 750 feet by 750 feet) is 12.9 acres. Even though there was a garden located on the western side of the Temple Mount which was used to cultivate the spices of the Incense, it emerges that another, much larger, plot of land was needed where the bulk of the saffron could be grown.