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Centaurea cyanus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Blue, 5 petals
An annual flower with deep blue with large ray-like outer florets extending to 2cm long.
Dark yellow-brown, elliptical achene, tipped with short orange to brown bristles. Approximately reaching 4mm in length and 2mm wide.
Alternate and pinnately lobed. Greyish-green, mostly entire. Upper leaves are long and linear. Lower leaves are slightly toothed margins. The undersides are white and woolly.
Other Names:
Bachelor's Button, Basket Flower, Bluebottle, Boutonniere Flower, Garden Cornflower, Hurtsickle.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Centaurea cyanus, also known as cornflower or bachelor's button, is a plant species in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and is also found in parts of Asia and North America. Centaurea cyanus is an annual herb with hairy stems and leaves, and produces showy, blue or violet flowers with a yellow center that bloom in the summer. The plant is often found growing in fields and other disturbed areas, and is sometimes grown in gardens for its attractive flowers. It is relatively easy to grow and is tolerant of a variety of soil types and conditions. Centaurea cyanus is also used in traditional herbal medicine, and is believed to have astringent and tonic properties.


The Cornflower, also known as Centaurea cyanus, is a beautiful and popular annual flowering plant that has been prized for its stunning blue petals for centuries. Native to Europe, this hardy plant has been widely cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world, making it an easily recognizable and beloved symbol of summer.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Cornflower is its distinctive blue petals, which can range from a deep, rich cobalt to a delicate shade of sky blue. These petals are surrounded by a ring of fine, feathery leaves that add texture and depth to the overall appearance of the plant. Whether grown in a garden or in the wild, the Cornflower is sure to catch the eye with its radiant beauty.

In addition to its stunning appearance, the Cornflower is also prized for its easy-to-grow nature and its adaptability to a wide range of growing conditions. This plant can be grown in almost any type of soil, and it is tolerant of both drought and heat. In fact, Cornflowers can often be found growing in the wild in fields and meadows, making it a popular choice for wildflower gardens and naturalistic landscapes.

Despite its hardy nature, the Cornflower is not a tough and rugged plant. In fact, its delicate appearance and soft blue petals make it a popular choice for use in bouquets and floral arrangements. Whether used fresh or dried, the Cornflower adds a touch of romance and beauty to any arrangement, making it a popular choice for weddings and other special events.

The Cornflower is a beautiful and versatile plant that is loved for its stunning blue petals, ease of growth, and adaptability to a wide range of growing conditions. Whether grown in a garden, in the wild, or used in a bouquet, the Cornflower is sure to bring a touch of beauty and romance to any setting.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Cornflower also has a rich cultural and historical significance. In ancient times, the blue petals of the Cornflower were believed to have magical properties and were used in traditional medicines and rituals. In some cultures, the plant was believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to those who possessed it.

Throughout history, the Cornflower has also been associated with several important figures and events. For example, it is said that the blue petals of the plant were once worn by the knights of King Charlemagne, making it a symbol of bravery and strength. During the First World War, the Cornflower became a symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers, as it was often found growing on battlefields and cemeteries.

In modern times, the Cornflower remains a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements, and it is widely cultivated for both commercial and personal use. Whether grown for its beauty or for its cultural significance, the Cornflower is a plant that is sure to be appreciated for its timeless appeal.

Aside from its ornamental uses, the Cornflower is also important for its ecological value. The plant is an important food source for many species of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. In addition, the Cornflower can provide habitat for other beneficial insects and animals, making it an important part of the ecosystem.

The Cornflower is a popular plant for gardeners of all skill levels, as it is easy to grow and care for. It can be sown directly in the garden in the spring or fall, or started indoors in pots and then transplanted outside when the weather warms up. The plant prefers full sun to partial shade, and well-drained soil that is moist but not waterlogged.

Once established, the Cornflower requires very little maintenance. It is a hardy plant that is resistant to pests and diseases, and it requires minimal watering once it is established. If you are growing Cornflowers in your garden, be sure to deadhead the spent flowers regularly to encourage continued blooming throughout the growing season.

In terms of design, the Cornflower can be used in a variety of ways to enhance your garden or landscape. It can be grown in mass plantings for a stunning display of blue flowers, or used as a border plant along garden beds or walkways. The plant also makes an excellent cut flower, and can be used in bouquets and floral arrangements for a touch of natural beauty.

One of the most unique features of the Cornflower is its versatility in terms of color. While blue is the most common color for this plant, there are also several other varieties that come in a range of colors, including pink, purple, and white. This makes it easy to find a variety that will complement your garden or landscape design.

In conclusion, the Cornflower is a plant that is beloved by gardeners, florists, and nature enthusiasts alike. With its easy-to-grow nature, stunning blue flowers, and cultural and historical significance, it is a plant that is sure to add beauty and charm to any setting.


Cornflower filmed at Hic Bibi Nature Reserve, Coppull, Lancashire on the 7th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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