Carthamus oxyacantha

Name and classification

Carthamus oxyacantha M. Bieb.
Family Asteraceae, Tribe Cynareae

Common names

wild safflower

Disseminule

fruit

Description

Fruit an achene, obovate or elliptic, 3–5.5 mm long, 2–3.5 mm wide, 1.5–2 mm thick, +/– truncate at apex, marginal notch at base, cross sectional outline broadly elliptic to slightly 4-sided. Glabrous, smooth and glossy, bone-white to ivory, less frequently beige, with +/– densely distributed blotches and speckles in shades of brown. Scar subbasal, an outlined, diamond-shaped cavity containing a rough, vertical ridge. Pappus early deciduous, absent. Apex a round, rough, flat to uneven area, surrounded by irregularly edged black ring; style base deciduous. Embryo spatulate, cotyledons broad; endosperm absent.

Identification considerations

Carthamus oxyacantha achenes may be distinguished from some other species in the genus Carthamus by its smooth, glossy surface, and pappus lacking. Could be confused with Carthamus tinctorius L., cultivated safflower (non-FNW).

Distribution

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan

Habitat

dry, open areas, plains, mountains

General information

Carthamus oxyacantha is a spiny-leaved annual herb up to 1.5 m tall. Like other spiny plants in the genus Carthamus, this species is not eaten by livestock, enabling it to spread on grazing lands. It also competes with and reduces the yield of cereal crops.

achenes

achenes

A, achene; B, longitudinal section of achene showing embryo in situ; C, transection of achene; drawing by Lynda E. Chandler

A, achene; B, longitudinal section of achene showing embryo in situ; C, transection of achene; drawing by Lynda E. Chandler

apex of achene

apex of achene

scar of achene

scar of achene