Safflower is one of man's oldest crops. Small wonder that it is now wild in many places around the world. Safflower uses are many, including food from flowers and seeds, medicine, oil for cooking or mechanical uses, and dye. A biodegradable oil from safflower can be used for lubrication or hydraulic fluid. It is sometimes called bastard saffron by those who use the dried flowers as a flavor substitute. At our house know it best as birdseed, and as a result it has popped up in our gardens, sort of uninvited. Safflower has been reported from AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MA, MI, MT, ND, NE, NM, NH, OH, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY, AB, and BC. Beal Gardens, MSU, 7/27/11. Aster family, Asteraceae.