SAFFLOWER (ultimately from the Arabic safra, yellow) or BASTARD SAFFRON (Carthamus linctorius), a plant of the natural order compositae; its flowers form the basis of the safflower dye of commerce. The plant is a native of the East Indies, but is cultivated in Egypt and to some extent in southern Europe. To obtain the dyeing principle carthamin, CuHuOj the flowers are first washed to free them from a soluble yellow colouring matter they contain; they are then dried and powdered, and digested in an alkaline solution in which pieces of clean white cotton are immersed. The alkaline solution having been_ neutralized with weak acetic acid, the cotton is removed and washed in another alkaline solution. When this second solution is neutralized with acid, carthamin in a pure condition is precipitated as a dark red powder. It forms a brilliant but fugitive scarlet dye for silk, but is principally used for preparing toilet rouge.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)