Safflower germplasm: Domesticated and wild
In the first half of this century safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) was grown for oil over a wide area of south central India and, to a limited extent, in western Turkey and Upper Egypt. It was grown on a very small scale for the flowers which served as a source of dye to color foods (the poor mans saffron) over a much wider area of the Middle East. Culture for the flowers was disappearing and, under U.S. assistance programs, introduced safflower germplasm was, in some cases, replacing local types. Fortunately collections of local types began in 1958, before it was too late. There are now about 1,500 entries in the safflower collection of the US. Department of Agriculture.