The current demand for safflower florets (Carthamus tinctorius L.) in the food-coloring industry, especially in Europe, is rising. The present production, mainly located in China, is not sufficient. Unlike for the production of seeds, there are currently no recommendations for the cultivation of safflower for floret production in Germany. Therefore, field experiments were conducted at the experimental station Ihinger Hof, Southwestern Germany, in 2017 and 2018. The aim was to evaluate yield and yield parameters, such as number of capitula, floret yield, and carthamidin content for (i) two cultivars grown with (ii) two row spacing (12 and 33 cm) using (iii) two sowing densities (40 and 75 plants m−2), and (iv) five harvest dates. Results showed that lower sowing densities resulted in a significantly larger number of branches and capitula per plant and higher yields of florets and carthamidin. Harvesting two to three weeks after flowering resulted in the significantly highest floret and carthamidin yields. More capitula per plant, higher carthamidin contents, and higher floret and carthamidin yields were obtained with the Chinese cultivar. In general, yields of flowering florets (2.30–468.96 kg ha−1), carthamidin contents (2.53–8.29%), and carthamidin yields (0.04–37.86 kg ha−1) were comparable to or higher than in other studies. In conclusion, this study showed that safflower has great potential for the production of florets in Southwest Germany, for the food-color industry.
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition