AMEMBER of the thistle family (Compositae/ Asteraceae), Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a multi-purpose salt-tolerant crop grown in various parts of the world. Its origin is believed to be in the Levant where it was domesticated more than 4,000 years ago. Safflower is an annual herbaceous bush with many branches that terminate in the capitulum (the flower head), which is surrounded by stiff bracts. Its composite flower head includes 20-180 florets and has different colors (white, yellow or orange). Following germination, the seedling produces a circular arrangement of leaves called a rosette. After one month approximately the central main stem emerges. The stem may grow to maximum length (30-150 cm) at the time of flowering. Both stems and branches have leaves which generally possess numerous hard spines that deter animals such as goats, sheep and camels to graze on plants. Safflower produces white seed which is four sided and has a thick and smooth hull (pericarp). The average seed length is 6-7 mm and the average seed weight is 40 mg. The plant has a long taproot system that can grow to 2-4 m deep in the soil.