Safflower production under local Environment of Pakistan

Safflower production under local Environment of Pakistan

Zarghoona Naz1*, Saddaf Khan2, Arshad Ali3 and Muhammad Umair Yasin4.

1Agro-Climatology Lab, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

2Taxonomy lab, Department of Botany, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

3Postgraduate Lab, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

4Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

*Corresponding author’s email: [email protected]


Safflower production under local Environment of Pakistan


Safflower botanically called Carthamus tinctorius L. and locally known as Kasumba. The crop can be successfully upraised in the present climatic conditions. Its strong stem facilitates it to grow under drastic climatic variations. In many countries, it is cultivated by former for the oil purposes. Safflower seeds contain 30-35% oil in it. The oil is rich in linoleic acid and has the maximum percentage as compared to maize, sunflower and other common oil seed crops. Safflower includes middle to high oil contents (23-36%) depend on the cultivated variety. Safflower seed contains the oil that rich in standard antioxidants such as a-tocopherol, b-tocopherol and g-tocopherol. Crude safflower contains 50% neutral lipids. Moreover, sufficient amount of omega six fatty acids makes it a healthier choice for nutrition especially where olive oil being the only but costly choice. The fatty acid composition of oils varies with plant species, variety and growing environmental conditions. Main unsaturated fatty acids are linoleic and oleic acid involved to 77.9-79% and 9-11% of total fatty acids correspondingly make it nutritionally valuable product for human intake.

Primarily it is an oil seed crop but have many other products like color, varnishes, paints and other oil based industry products. Furthermore, a variety flower color makes it useful crop for harvesting dyes and shades of yellow, orange or red which is a cause of dye. Fiber attained from cotton, wool and from natural sources can be dyed with the color obtained from safflower. Safflower has another plant part of flowers (petals) which are being neglected. Petals are very important as a source of medicinal preparations, natural food color and dyes for coloring fabrics.

Botanical description

Safflower is a day neutral plant. However, source of varieties is very important because summer crop varieties from temperate regions, planted during short days as a winter crop in subtropical and tropical regions, have a very long rosette phase, with late maturity. Plant density differs greatly among countries. When soil moisture is not limiting, safflower compensates for low plant density by increased branching and other yield components adjustments. During the rosette stage of growth, safflower is a poor competitor with weeds. Therefore, weed control at this stage is very important for yield optimization. Safflower grows well in well-drained, deep, fertile, sandy loam soils. In heavy clay soils, crusting may reduce seedling emergence. In general, its growth and development is best under limited soil moisture conditions.

Production technology


For the cultivation of safflower, light and heavy mera soils are required with good drainage properties.

Seed bed preparation

For the seed bed preparation on 2-3 ploughings are required with planking.

Planting time

Safflower is a drought resistant crop and grow in dry environment, bear a severe dry spell. For irrigated area it’s sowing time from 1st October to 20 November and for rainfed area from 1st October to 15 November with drill.

Seed rate

Safflower seed rate can be determined by of the region of irrigated and non-irrigated. For irrigated areas 8 kg/acre or 20 kg/ha and for barani areas 7 kg/acre or 18 kg/ha. Quantity of seed rate reduced in manual sowing method.

Method of planting

Safflower sowing normally with drill or manually method. In both cases, sowing would be done in lines with line to line spacing 45 cm and plants to plant distance 10-15 cm.


Amount of fertilizer depend of the quantity of irrigations. For irrigated areas one bag urea and one bag diammonium phosphate. Urea apply during the 1st irrigation and diammonium phosphate at any time of the crop duration whereas for barani areas one bag urea and one bag diammonium phosphate. All the fertilizers should be apply at seed bed preparation.


As it is a drought resistance crop, therefor the water requirements are minimum or negligible. Only 2-3 irrigations are needed for the best crop growth. First irrigation after one month of sowing, second irrigation at flowering of the crop and third irrigation depend of the soil type and environmental conditions.

Weed management

Weeding with Tarphali or rotary hoeing after first and second irrigations. Weeds cause a serious problem during early dated of the crop. The crop is slow growing in the early days and weeds can cover the crop if not coped properly. Safflower plant has thorns and it offers trouble for the labor to harvest. Birds also eat the seed of safflower, which also enhances to the losses. Also, there is no locally made mechanical harvester available in Pakistan for this crop and this is one of the main reasons of low adoption of newly introduced crop.

Harvesting and Threshing

When 90-95% capsules mature and leaves color becomes brownish harvest the crop. Cut the seed heads and shake them in a bag or jar or open them using hand. Store them in an airtight container in cool and dry place. Safflower petals are edible and are used to add color to food. Harvest the safflower petals when the flowers are fully open.


Safflower capitula were harvested near the point of seed physiological maturity, with a moisture content of 25.8%. Safflower seeds exhibit dormancy soon after dispersion from the mother plant, making it impossible to sow newly harvested seeds. Their seeds are stored at about 8 to 10 percent moisture contents.

Reasons for low production

In Pakistan, Safflower is the crop that is just sown on less than 1 thousand acre yearly. The low area under cultivation is due to non-availability of good quality seeds. Most of the farmers are unaware of this oil seed crop as there is no fixed market for this crop. In Pakistan, the best suitable areas for its cultivation are the low rainfall areas of KPK and Punjab. Abundant potential to be propagated in Pakistan but it is not cultivated due to lack of production technology and inadequate procedure for harvesting.

Suitable environment for safflower

It is sown in October and harvested at the end of April in Pakistan. This crop is easily cultivable in hot climates and is suitable for Southern region of KPK. This crop can be sown either by direct seeding or through transplanting it when the plant is about 4-5 week old. Both of these two methods have proved to be working under Pakistani climatic conditions. Most of the safflower grown worldwide is by the direct seeding method and considered economical.


In addition to investigation of its farming scope and nutritional importance there is also a clear direction for its agriculture production. Despite the many uses of safflower, crop has remained minor uses. The oil attained is of high quality and costly than sunflower and palm oil. For pure oil purpose, it can be grown in pakistan.


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