Botanical name: Carthamus lanatus Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Carthamus albus, Centaurea lanata, Atractylis lutea
Saffron Thistle is an annual thistle-like plant, 1-6 ft tall, with densely glandular-hairy, loosely cobwebby to woolly leaves. It is closely related to Safflower. Stems are rigidly erect, openly branched distally, stramineous. Leaves arise from the base and also on the stem. Basal leaves are often absent at maturity. Leaf-stalks are winged, blades 10-15 cm, margins pinnately 1-2-divided into linear or lanceshaped spine-tipped lobes. Stem leaves are spreading or recurved, lanceshaped to ovate, rigid, stem-clasping, 3-7-veined from base, margins with narrow spine-tipped lobes, spinose-acuminate. Flower-heads are yellow, with tubular yellow, sometimes red- or black-veined, flowers 2.5-3.5 cm long, with throats gradually expanded. Anthers are yellow. Seeds are 4-6 mm long, about 3 mm wide, hairless, 4-angled, apex with linear scales to 1 cm long. Saffron Thistle is found in parts of Europe, West Asia and Africa, widely naturalized. In India it is found naturalized in Kashmir.
Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
The flower labeled Saffron Thistle is ...