Standard Article

Safflower Oil

  1. Joseph Smith

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047167849X.bio052

Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products

Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products

How to Cite

Smith, J. 2005. Safflower Oil. Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products. 2:11.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Safflower has a long history of cultivation. Some would class it as the world’s oldest crop. Because safflower was introduced to many lands, it is known by a number of different names, for example, false saffron, benihana, safflor, thistle saffron, and so on.

Safflower is a plant of desert origin. Flowering takes place during the warmest part of the growing season. Most farming areas of the world receive some summer rains. If rains occur, then the safflower has a chance of surviving. However, the chances also increase for the plant to be attacked by various molds. The history and botanical description of safflower are detailed in this chapter.

Safflower seed consists of a tough fibrous hull that protects the kernel. Attempts have been made to produce commercial hybrids of safflower seed by exploiting heterosis to increase seed or oil content. Safflower oil is pale yellow to golden and exhibits the highest level of linoleic fatty acid of any commercial oil. This high level has made safflower oil attractive to consumers. Processing of the safflower to produce the oil is done in various stages: extraction, refining, bleaching, and deodorizing.

Marketing of safflower and the quality assessment of the seed and oil are discussed. Unique uses for safflower seeds include bird feed, ornamental plantings, food coloring, dyes, in medicinal products, and in cosmetics.


  • safflower;
  • oil;
  • seeds;
  • farming;
  • crop distribution;
  • amino acids;
  • processing;
  • quality assessment;
  • safflower meal;
  • bird seed;
  • ornamental plantings;
  • cosmetics;
  • medicinal products