by Stephen Mifsud
   2 Mar 2024      ()
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Carthamus tinctorius   (Orange Carthamus)

Carthamus tinctorius  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Carthamus tinctorius - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 02-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Carthamus tinctoriusL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 830 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Centaurea carthamus E.H.L.Krause
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
123 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Orange Carthamus

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Casual or accidental alien. Species that was introduced in Malta rather recently and normally it is short-lived or resticted to small populations for a short time, without becoming widespread or invasive.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – June

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Often found close to bird-trapping areas and fields where it was previously cultivated
Botanical Description: Subglabrous annual. Cauline leaves undivided or rarely sinuate to pinnatifid, ovate to lanceolate-ovate, spinose-dentate or entire. Capitula broadly ovoid to conical-ovoid. Inner involucral bracts oblong-lanceolate, entire. Corolla yellow, orange or reddish; filaments subglabrous. Achenes obpyramidal, more or less smooth, shiny, white. Pappus absent or rarely the inner achenes with short narrow scales.
Chromosome number: 2n=24
Distributional range: Formerly cultivated in a large part of Europe for its red and yellow flower-pigments used in dyeing nowadays cultivated on a smaller scale in parts of S. & C. Europe, mainly for the oil derived from the achenes, and occasionally naturalized.
Native region outside Europe: (W. Asia)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, Doubtful in France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Doubtful in Germany, Doubtful in Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[cAb(A) AE(G) cAg Ar cAu Au(A L) aBe(B) cBH aBr cBu Ca(C F T) aCs cCt cCy Eg cEs Ga(F) aGe Gr aHb(E N) aHe aHo Hs(S) cHu nIt cJu Le cLi nLu cMa nMd(M P) Mo aPo Rf(S) cRm cSi(M) aSk Sl Sr Sy Tn cTu(A) Uk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (6 images)
   Carthamus tinctorius   -   Image Code: CTHTN-0.
   Carthamus tinctorius   -   Image Code: CTHTN-1.
   Carthamus tinctorius   -   Image Code: CTHTN-2.
   Carthamus tinctorius   -   Image Code: CTHTN-3.
   Carthamus tinctorius   -   Image Code: CTHTN-4.
   Carthamus tinctorius   -   Image Code: CTHTN-5.

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