SAFFLOWER, FALSE SAFFRON

FAMILY: Asteraceae | GENUS: CARTHAMUS tinctorius

TYPE
  • Annuals
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

This thistle relative (probably an Asian native) is ornamental as well as useful: It is grown commercially for the oil extracted from its seeds. To 3 feet tall, 1112 feet wide, with erect, spiny-leafed stems. In summer, bears orange-yellow flower heads above leafy bracts; inner bracts are spiny. Durable cut flower, fresh or dried. Dried safflower blossoms have been used for seasoning in place of true saffron, which they somewhat resemble in color and flavor. Sow seeds in place in spring, after danger of frost is past. An ornamental spine-free form is also available.

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