Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

About Safflower

  • Safflower is a thistle-like plant containing one to five yellow-orange flower heads per branch.
  • The crop is native to Asia and Africa but is now seen grown in the western United States.
  • Safflower is in the same plant family as sunflower.


Oil extracted from its seeds can be used to make…

  • heat-stable cooking oil
  • cosmetic products
  • paints and varnishes
  • livestock feed

Fast Facts

  • California grows about 50% of safflower in the U.S.
  • Safflower was originally grown to make red or yellow dyes out of its flowers for food preparation and clothing items.