A fiery orange thistle

Fresh or dried, you can do anything with safflower, especially if you are looking for a bit of fire in your vase. Do you dare to go for it with this flower?

Sign up for monthly flower inspiration.


The scientific name of safflower is Carthamus tinctoria. You can recognise safflower by its thistle-like shape and its striking colour: the flower turns from yellow via orange to red. The leaves are spiny.


These flowers symbolise happiness and joy. In folklore, the flowers were thought to attract love or even marriage. Are you single and want to change that? A vase full of safflower might just change your relationship status!


Originally this flower was found only in Turkey, Syria and the area described as the Levant. The name Carthamus tinctoria refers to the fact that the flower was used as a basis for paint. Carthamus refers to the Arabic word kurthum, which means 'paint' and tinctorius means 'used as paint'.  Ancient Egyptians used safflower to dye mummy wrappings and tombs as early as 3500 BC. In other parts of the world, oil from the flower is used to light lamps, prepare food, and is used in soaps, salves and cosmetics. In China, the flower and the plant are used in medicine. So the safflower is a versatile plant!