Sp. Pl. 2: 830. 1753
Phenology: Flowering Apr–Sep(–Nov).
Habitat: Roadsides, grain fields, pastures
Elevation: 0–1100 m
Ariz., Calif., Mass., N.J., Okla., Oreg., Tex., Europe.
Native to the Mediterranean region, Carthamus lanatus is a viciously spiny noxious weed, sometimes forming nearly impenetrable stands. In rangelands it is known to injure the eyes and mouths of livestock, and it tends to spread when more palatable plants are consumed. Because of the close relationship between the cultivated safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) and its weedy relatives, biocontrol has not been an option for controlling weedy species such as C. lanatus.