Origin. It has long been known in culture of India, Egypt, Iran and other countries in Asia and North Africa. Considered to be a substitute for sunflower in dryland areas of Central Asia and in south-eastern regions of Russia. In Europe, safflower entered, probably by the Arabs, first came to Spain and then to Italy and France. In southern Russia safflower grown as garden plants in the second half of XVIII century. It is a mistake in the beginning it was called saffron. The very name of the plant comes from the Arabic "usfur" and updated will be in Russian, German and English.
Distribution. The greatest variety of forms characteristic of safflower in India. There are dwarf and tall plants, compact and branched forms of the leaves without spines, which are eaten by animals.
The main areas of the country are located in Maharashtra and in the arid plateau of Deccan, where you can not, no oil-bearing crop. Safflower is grown in India without irrigation, it is usually cultivated with wheat, barley and beans, mung bean (3 rows of safflower and 6 or 12 rows of other crops).
Systematics. Genus Carthamus, the aster family (Asteraceae) brings together 19 species, of which one culture - Carthamus tinctorius L. - Safflower dye. In the wild state is not found, it is recognized that this type of mutagenic.
Description of the plant. Safflower dye - an annual herbaceous silnovetvistoe heat-loving plant. The root system is pivotal, well-developed. Stem 50-75 cm tall, with a whitish gloss. Leaves sessile, often split, rough, leathery, the edges with a few teeth, have spikes (a form without spikes). A direct correlation between the number of spines on the leaves and the oil content in seeds. Inflorescence - a basket with a diameter of 2-3 cm per plant from 5 to 50 baskets. Scales wrapper end acicular teeth. The flowers are bright yellow, orange, contain kartamin - all the red tones and a yellow dye that is used in artisanal production of carpets.
Fruit - achene, white, glossy, has testaceous layer, as well as crest, which contributes to its incorporation into the soil. Husk content - 40-50% weight of 1000 seeds - 20-50 g.
To get the dye safflower planted in pure form. In this case, harvesting is carried out in a day full disclosure of flowers, with delay of the dye is markedly reduced. Sometimes sown safflower fields along roadsides as a hedge. Sowing time - from October to December and harvesting - in February - March. Yield of seeds sown in the joint to 0,1 t / ha, net - 0.6-0.7 t / ha.