Safflower, scientifically known as Carthamus tinctorius L is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual herb.
Overview of Safflower
• It is commercially cultivated for vegetable oil.
• This oil is extracted from the seeds.
• These plants are 30 to 150 cm tall.
• They bear globular flower heads.
• These heads have yellow, orange, or red flowers.
• Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads.
• Each head contains 15 to 20 seeds per head.
• Safflower is native to arid environments.
• It grows a deep taproot.
Uses of Safflower
• This crop was grown for its seeds.
• It is used for:
– flavoring foods
– in medicines
– making red and yellow dyes
– vegetable oil extracted from its seeds
Seed of Safflower
• Safflower seed oil is flavorless and colorless.
• It is nutritionally similar to sunflower oil.
• It is used mainly in cosmetics.
• In food it is used as a:
– cooking oil
– in salad dressing
– for the production of margarine
– as a nutritional supplement
Oil of Safflower
There are two types of safflower that produce different kinds of oil:
• one high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid).
• the other high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid).
Scientific classification of Safflower
• Kingdom: Plantae
• (unranked): Angiosperms
• (unranked): Eudicots
• (unranked): Asterids
• Order: Asterales
• Family: Asteraceae
• Tribe: Cynareae
• Genus: Carthamus
• Species: C. tinctorius
Growing/Caring conditions for Safflower
• Designate a location that is exposed to six hours.
• The location should get more of direct sunlight daily.
• The location should have well-drained soil.
• Safflower plants should be spaced 6 inches apart, if grown for oil.
• The spacing should be 12-inch if grown for cut-flower.
• Rows can be as close as 20 inches.
• Safflower requires a growing period of 120 to 150 days.
• This period is from sprouting to maturity.
• Remove all weeds and other vegetation from the location.
• Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 inches.
• Spread a 1-inch layer of compost.
• Amend the soil over the planting area.
• Work the amendments and compost into the top 6 inches of soil.
• Plant safflower seed 1-inch deep.
• Gently firm the soil over the seed.
• Saturate with water.
• The soil temperature should be between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Water by deeply soaking the plants once a week.