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Asteraceae (Cynareae tribe)
Alternate trade names
safflower, false saffron
Carthamus tinctorius L.
Lanceolate or ovate, simple, entire, auriculate stem leaves; flowers (florets) in terminal, discoid heads 2.5-4 cm across, solitary or in a loose corymbose inflorescence; head subtended by an ovoid involucre, very constricted at apex, of imbricate phyllaries in many series; outer phyllaries leaf like, spreading, inner phyllaries with leaflike appendages, to innermost ones spine-tipped; receptacle bristly; disc floret ca. 3.5 cm long with a very narrow tube, 5 spreading, linear lobes, and an unbranched style; pappus lacking.
Cultivar and/or species variation
Stem leaves minutely spine-toothed, or spineless in newer cultivars; heads yellow, orange, red, or cream, sometimes bicolor, with style in contrasting color.
May be confused with
Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe.