Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Family - Asteraceae
Also known as - Bachelor's button, Basketflower, Bluebottle
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A common annual species of flowering plant once notable as an agricultural weed in cornfields, it is now rare in arable crops with the use of modern herbicides. Native to Europe, now naturalised in many other parts of the world, including North America and parts of Australia through introduction as an ornamental plant in gardens. It grows to 40-85cm (16-35) inches tall, with grey-green branched stems with lanceolate leaves 1-4cm (0.4-1.6in) long. Flowers are usually an intense blue as compound flower head (capitula) 1.5-3cm (0.6-1.2in) diameter with a ring of a few large, spreading ray florets surrounding a central cluster of disc floret. Flowers from June to August in meadows, road sides, disturbed ground and gardens.
Now endangered in the UK it has seen a marked decline and is now restricted to just a handful of sites in the wild, Plantlife named it as one of the species it would actively work to bring "Back from the Brink". As an ornamental plant in gardens it is widely grown with cultivars have selected with varying colours, including white, pink, purple and black. Occasionally seen as a garden escapee in localised spots. Used as a national flower by some countries including Germany, Estonia and Prussia and some political parties.
FBCP do not advise or recommend that Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus is eaten or used as a herbal remedy. Dried Cornflower as used in herbal tea, tea blends and for culinary decoration. A decoction of Cornflower is said to be effective in treating conjunctivitis. Historically they were used as a blue pigment and when worn by young men it was taken that if the flower rapidly faded, the man's love was not being reciprocated.
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