Sunflower vs Safflower: Difference and Comparison

Flowers are one of the most beautiful creations of mother nature that are soothing to the eyes, peaceful for the mind, and beneficial for health as well since they provide particular necessary materials.

Similarly, sunflower and safflower are two types of flowers that are widely consumed and cultivated by people of different places.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sunflower plants produce large, vibrant flowers and edible seeds, while safflower plants have smaller flowers and yield seeds for oil production.
  2. Sunflower oil is richer in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, while safflower oil contains higher levels of polyunsaturated fats.
  3. Sunflower plants are taller and more robust, while safflower plants are shorter and have a spindly appearance.

Sunflower vs Safflower

Sunflowers are tall annual plants that are native to North and South America. They are known for their large, bright yellow flowers that resemble the sun, hence the name sunflower. Safflower is native to the Middle East and Central Asia with yellow, orange, or red flowers cultivated for its seeds.

Sunflower vs Safflower

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Sunflower is a very charming yellow-colored flower that is grown as a crop because it provides edible oil, seeds, and fruits as well.

One of the major features of a sunflower is that it faces the sun throughout the day and the reason is that the sunflower creates heliotropism when it is at its bud stage.

Safflower is a type of thistle-like plant that grows annually. It belongs to the same flower family as sunflower known as Asteraceae.

Safflower is cultivated to acquire seeds and oil from it. Also, in early Spanish colonies, people used Safflower as the alternative to saffron. The oil extracted from safflower is very beneficial for the skin.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonSunflowerSafflower
StructureSunflower is a flower that has a round disc that is the origin point of petals and contains seeds. Safflower is a flower that doesn’t have a disc but has more petals than a sunflower that is herbaceous.
Scientific nameThe scientific name of sunflowers is Helianthus that belongs to the family known as Asteraceae. The scientific name of safflower is Carthamus tinctorius that belongs to the same family, Asteraceae.
ShapeThe shape of the sunflower is a giant round shape that grows on very large and tall plants. Safflower is disorganized since it has irregular petals spreading in each direction while growing on smaller plants.
ColourA sunflower is mostly yellow though some variants of it can be deep purple, red, and white. A sunflower is mostly orange and it can be sometimes red as well.
HeightThe height of the plant on which sunflower is grown is about 5 to 10 feet long. The height of the plant on which safflower is grown is about 1 to 5 feet long.

What is Sunflower?

Sunflower is grown on large plants and is a yellow-colored flower that is cultivated for its oil and seeds. In botany, the sunflower is a member of the Asteraceae family that belongs to the kingdom known as Plantae.

Sunflowers are grown in moist soil because it is a type of open land species.

The most common habitats of sunflowers are railroad, savannah, grasslands, forest edge, old and large fields, etc. Sunflowers are also used as medicine in which a remedy for pulmonary affections was developed by Europeans based on sunflowers.

The seeds obtained from sunflowers are widely used to treat colds and coughs, even sunflower seeds have the potential to treat malaria.

Sunflowers also have cultural values around the world since they are associated with the sun. Many people believe that sunflowers represent moral values like loyalty, longevity, adoration, etc.

Another term used for sunflowers is ‘happy flower’ because they can uplift the spirit of someone. The sunflower is a native flower in South and North America.

Sunflowers are important for the economy as well since they are used for multiple purposes such as their leaves are used to make fodder while petals are used to make dye, and the seeds are meant for extracting oil from them.


What is Safflower?

Safflower is a flower that resembles a thistle and has an orange color. The seeds of safflower are also beneficial to extract oil that is used in cooking and the petals of safflower are used to make a red and yellow dye.

Safflower belongs to the same family and kingdom as sunflowers, that is Asteraceae and Plantae respectively.

Safflower is full of properties like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that make it the most suitable ingredient for cosmetics as well. The safflower oil is very useful for reducing acne and scars, moisturizing the skin, and decreasing inflammation.

Apart from cosmetics, safflower is remarkably useful for certain diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and control cholesterol.

The safflower plant grows very quickly and the suitable season for its growth is winter and spring; it is a type of herb that grows annually. A Safflower plant can emerge within 3 weeks after the seeds have been sown.

Safflower plants should not be kept at high temperatures. The plant emerges in the form of a rosette and then it grows taller. Safflower oil has been marketed for centuries.

Some people claimed that the oil is free of saturated fat and that’s made very healthy to be consumed.


Main Differences Between Sunflower and Safflower

  1. The countries that are large cultivators of sunflower are Ukraine, South, and North America, Russia, etc. On the other hand, Mexico, Kazakhstan, the US, India are the countries where safflower is grown on a large scale.
  2. When it comes to size, sunflowers are remarkably huge. On the other hand, safflowers are very small compared to sunflowers.
  3. The oil extracted from sunflower seeds is very rich in vitamin E. Safflower oil, on the other hand, is a great source of antioxidants.
  4. Sunflower oil is used in baking, salad dressing, margarine, and frying while safflower oil is useful in searing, stir-frying, and deep-frying.
  5. Botanists have given a scientific name to sunflowers, Helianthus. Safflower, on the other hand, is known as Carthamus tinctorius in the field of science.
Difference Between Sunflower and Safflower

Last Updated : 16 July, 2023

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