Carthamus L.: Origin, distribution and its archaeological records in India


  • Shalini Sharma Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53, University Road, Lucknow 226007, India
  • Anil K. Pokharia Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53 University Road, Lucknow 226007, India
  • Amish Kumar Ramjas College, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India
  • Alka Srivastava Department of Botany, D.G.P.G. College (Affiliated to CSJMU), Kanpur 200801, India
  • Ruchita Yadav Department of Botany, D.G.P.G. College (Affiliated to CSJMU), Kanpur 200801, India



Carthamus sp. L., Archaeobotany, Chalcolithic, Iron-Age, Indian subcontinent


This article reviews the current state of botanical and archaeological evidences that bears the origin, distribution, genetic diversity, and cultivation of the Carthamus sp. in the Indian subcontinent and other parts of the world. This review provides an important compendium of evidences for Carthamus and related species in different geographical locations of the world through the ages as well as in the modern era. The archaeological records so far indicate that Carthamus sp. was established in northwestern India during the chalcolithic culture around 3rd–2nd millennium BCE in Indian subcontinent and then distributed to the other regions. However, the origin and domestication of the crop has been recorded from the Middle East around ~4000 years ago. Carthamus tinctorius L. (safflower) is the cultivated representative of this genus and has great economic importance as it is used for making different varieties of oil or dyes, today and in the past.


यह लेख वनस्पति और पुरातात्विक साक्ष्य की वर्तमान स्थिति जो कि भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप और दुनिया के अन्य भागों में कार्थमस एसपी की उत्पत्ति, वितरण, आनुवंशिक विविधता और खेती को धारण करने की समीक्षा करता है। यह समीक्षा युगों के साथ-साथ आधुनिक युग में दुनिया के विभिन्न भौगोलिक स्थानों में कार्थमस और संबंधित प्रजातियों के साक्ष्य का एक महत्वपूर्ण संग्रह प्रदान करती है। अब तक के पुरातात्विक आलेखों से संकेत मिलता है कि कार्थमस  एसपी पश्चिमोत्तर भारत में तीसरी-दूसरी सहस्राब्दी ईसा पूर्व के आसपास चालकोलिथिक संस्कृति के दौरान भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप में स्थापित किया गया था और फिर अन्य क्षेत्रों में फैला। यद्यपि, लगभग 4000 वर्ष पूर्व मध्य पूर्व से फसल की उत्पत्ति को आलेखित किया गया है। कार्थमस टिंक्टरियस एल (कुसुम) इस जीनस का खेती वाला प्रतिनिधि है और इसका एक बड़ा आर्थिक महत्व है क्योंकि इसका उपयोग आज और अतीत में विभिन्न प्रकार के तेल या रंग बनाने के लिए किया जाता है।


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How to Cite

Sharma, S., Pokharia, A. K., Kumar, A., Srivastava, A., & Yadav, R. (2022). Carthamus L.: Origin, distribution and its archaeological records in India. Journal of Palaeosciences, 71(2), 177–186.



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