A plant in its whole aspect as unlike to that which produces the true saffron, as one herb can be to another; but called by this name, because of the yellow threads which grow from the flower. It is of the thistle kind, two feet and a half high, and very upright. The stalk is round, angulated, and branched, but it is not prickly. The leaves are oblong, broad, round at the points, and prickly about the edges. The flowers stand at the tops of the branches: they consist of roundish, scaly, and prickly heads, with yellow flowers growing from amongst them: these are like the flowers in the heads of ear thistles, but narrower and longer.
These flowers are used by the dyers in some parts of Europe. The seed is the part taken into the shops: it is longish, covered, and white with a hard covering; it is to be given in infusion, which works both by vomit and stool, but not violently. It is good against rheumatisms and the jaundice.