Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is plant from the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family, and native to Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Safflower is a deep tap root crop with an above ground architecture similar to a thistle. Safflower is extremely drought tolerant. The safflower flower was traditionally used as a clothing and food dye. In recent years safflower has seed has been crushed and made into and edible oil or sold as whole seeds for bird food.