Botanically known as Carthamus tinctorius.
Safflower is an annual spiny plant up to 1m tall. It forms a rosette of leaves and at the end grows 30-90 tubular florets of a fiery orange colour. The fruits are white in colour and bitter in taste. They are in in oils.
Part of Plant Used
Only the florets are used to extract the colour.
Dyer’s safflower is not found in the wild rather it comes from a plant native to the area between northern India and the Near East. It was cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly in Egypt and later in France, Italy, Spain and central Europe too.
Dyeing with Safflower
Dyeing with safflower is different from all the other dyeing ingredients. The red colour is fixed directly on the fabric without the need of a mordant. The dye is first dissolved in an alkaline solution and then precipitated on the fibre as soon as the bath is made acidic. It is used to dye shades of yellow as well as reds and pinks.
* Also can be used as Soap Making Colorant and Candle Making Colorant.