Seeds of wild safflower, Carthamus oxyacantha Bieb., collected from the Bajgah area, Iran, were subjected to chilling and/or scarification and their germination and emergence characteristics and seedling growth were studied in two laboratory experiments. Seeds of Arak 2811 variety of cultivated safflower, C. tinctorius L., harvested from the same area at the same time was used for comparison.
In the first experiment, the untreated, scarified, chilled at 0 °C for 1 month, and chilled and scarified wild seed and seed of the variety Arak 2811 were incubated at six different temperatures (5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 °C) and their germination percentage and seedling lengths were recorded. In the second experiment, the seeds of the above five treatments were planted in a silty clay loam at room temperature (23 ± 2 °C) and their emergence and seedling heights were noted.
In all cases, the cultivated variety, Arak 2811, had higher germination and emergence percentages and seedling heights than the wild type. Germination of both strains was greatly reduced at the two extreme temperatures (5 and 30 °C). The optimum temperatures for germination of the wild and the cultivated strains were between 15 and 20 °C.
Scarification of the wild seed did not improve the germination or emergence percentages and chilling of the seed for a month at 0 °C reduced the emergence of the wild seed. Temperature of germination, however, seemed to be an important factor affecting germination and seedling growth of wild safflower.