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Carthamus tinctorius ‘Grenade Orange’ (photo courtesy of Kieft Seed)
Carthamus tinctorius ‘Grenade Orange’ (photo courtesy of Kieft Seed)

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Zones 1-24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Regular Water

Carthamus tinctorius

Safflower, False Saffron

Annuals, Flowers

This useful thistle relative (probably an Asian native) grows to 3 ft. tall, 1–1 1/2 ft. wide, with erect, spiny-leafed stems. In summer, orange-yellow flower heads rise above leafy bracts; inner bracts are spiny. Durable cut flower. Fresh, it is used in Hawaiian leis. Dried, it is used as a substitute for saffron, which it resembles in color and flavor. Grown commercially for oil extracted from the seeds. Sow seeds in place in spring after frost danger is past. An ornamental spineless form is also available.

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