Thistle-like herbaceous annual (mildly prickly) growing to 3 feet. The plants are highly branched and produce abundant vibrant yellow flowers, attracting pollinators. Grown for its flower used as a Saffron substitute in colouring and flavouring food, making dyes for silk or wool, and as an oilseed crop. Best results if seeds are sown direct after the chance of frost has passed. Plants prefer full sun and produce a long tap-root enabling them to be drought tolerant. Has a long history of use in Chinese medicine.