: a widely grown Old World composite herb (Carthamus tinctorius) that has large orange or red flower heads from which a red dyestuff is prepared and seeds rich in oil
: a drug consisting of the dried florets of the safflower that has been used in medicine in place of saffron—called also carthamus
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)—J.C. Allen and Son
Flowering annual plant (Carthamus tinctorius) of the aster family (Asteraceae). Native to parts of Asia and Africa, it is now widely grown as an oil crop in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Israel, and Turkey. Oil obtained from the seeds, an ingredient of soft margarines, salad oil, and cooking oil, is valued for its high proportion of polyunsaturated fats. Since the oil does not yellow with age, it is also a useful base for varnish and paint. The plant, which grows 1–4 ft (0.3–1.2 m) high, has flowers in red, orange, yellow, or white, which were formerly a source of textile dyes.