Carthamus tinctorius L.


Sp. Pl. 830 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Annual, to 1 m high; stems pale, glabrous or minutely hairy. Leaves sessile, ovate to lanceolate, 2–12 cm long, 1–4 cm wide, acute, spine-tipped, base cuneate or obtuse, bright glossy green above and below, glabrous, margins more or less entire with long spines. Capitula solitary, 15–35 mm diam.; outer bracts spreading to deflexed, rigid, spine-tipped; inner bracts sometimes with leaf-like apex, erect. Corolla 20–25 mm long, bright orange. Cypselas 7–8 mm long, white, glossy; pappus usually absent, rarely a few minute scales. Flowers spring.

*EGU, *GipP, *MuM, *VVP, *Wim. Also naturalised WA, Qld, NSW, Tas. Native to Europe. Occasionally spontaneous in Victoria as a garden- or crop-escape.

The flowers are sometimes used as a substitute for, or 'filler' with Saffron (derived from the stigmas of Crocus sativus L. in the Iridaceae).

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Asteraceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Asterales
family Asteraceae
genus Carthamus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Carthamus tinctorius in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Carthamus tinctorius in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present introduced
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales