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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonCarthamus tinctorius
Family common name(s)composite; composita; comp; aster; asterwort; asterworts; sunflower; daisy; dandelion
Genus common name(s)carthamus; distaff thistle; distaff-thistle; distaffthistle
Species common name(s)common safflower; cultivated safflower; Indian safflower; safflor; false saffron; bastard saffron; fake saffron; dyer's saffron; thistle saffron; thistle-saffron; thistle saffron; African saffron; lady's-rouge; lady's rouge
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxasaffron thistle, saffronthistle, safflower are applied to multiple Carthamus taxa; parrot's-corn, parrot's corn, parrots' corn are applied to taxa in multiple families
NotesIndian, African are proper names, so upper case preferable; sometimes called American saffron, although not native to the Americas
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