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Perennial Cornflower

Centaurea montana

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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, Cornflower, 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 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
Gardens, grassland, heathland, meadows, mountains, parks, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, towns, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

Blue, many petals
A showy perennial flower with spidery, thistle-like flowerheads, 8cm in diameter. 5 stamens. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is similar-looking but it flowers later in the year and has smaller flowers with more 3-dimensional rays. Insect-pollinated.
The Perennial Cornflower does not produce a fruit that is typically associated with fleshy or edible structures. Instead, it reproduces through seeds. After the flowering period, the plant develops seed heads, which contain small, dark seeds. These seeds are dispersed naturally, often by wind or other environmental factors, facilitating the plant's ability to spread and colonize new areas. The seeds are the reproductive units of the plant, contributing to its life cycle and the establishment of new generations. The seeds mature from August to October.
A clump-forming flower. The leaves are alternate, stalkless, untoothed and woolly beneath. A common garden escape. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) has smaller and narrower leaves than Perennial Cornflower.
Perennial Cornflower is not widely known for a strong or distinctive aroma. The plant is primarily appreciated for its vibrant and visually appealing flowers rather than for any notable fragrance. While some individuals may perceive a mild, pleasant scent from the flowers, the aroma is generally not a prominent characteristic of this plant. As fragrance perception can vary among individuals, it's recommended to personally experience the plant to determine any subtle scents it may emit.
Other Names:
Bachelor's Button, Blue Bottle, Great Blue-bottle, Montane Knapweed, Mountain Bluet, Mountain Centaury, Mountain Cornflower.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Centaurea montana, also known as mountain cornflower or mountain bluet, 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 montana is a perennial 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 grassy or rocky 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 montana is also used in traditional herbal medicine, and is believed to have astringent and tonic properties.


If you're looking to add a pop of color to your garden, consider the Perennial Cornflower, also known as Centaurea montana. This stunning wildflower is native to Europe and Asia, and its vibrant blue blooms are a sight to behold. In this article, we'll take a closer look at this beautiful plant and why you should consider adding it to your garden.

Appearance and Characteristics

Perennial Cornflowers have bright blue flowers that sit atop sturdy stems and green foliage. The flowers are often described as "pom-pom" shaped, with petals that are slightly frayed at the edges. They grow to be about 2-3 feet tall and about 1-2 feet wide, making them a great option for borders and as background plants. The leaves are green and lance-shaped, and the stems are covered in fine hair.

Blooming Season

The Perennial Cornflower blooms from late spring to early summer, with its bright blue flowers appearing on the plant for several weeks. During this time, the plant will attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it a great choice for those looking to create a wildlife-friendly garden.

Care and Maintenance

Perennial Cornflowers are relatively low maintenance, making them a great option for gardeners of all levels. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun, although they can tolerate some light shade. They are also drought-tolerant, so you don't have to worry about watering them too often. In fact, over-watering can cause root rot, so it's important to let the soil dry out between waterings. They also benefit from occasional deadheading, which will encourage the plant to produce more blooms.


There are several different varieties of Perennial Cornflower, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most popular include 'Amethyst in Snow,' which has white flowers with a purple center, and 'Jordy,' which has pink flowers. There's also 'Blackbeard,' which has deep purple flowers and dark foliage. No matter which variety you choose, you're sure to enjoy the beauty and versatility of this plant.

The Perennial Cornflower is a beautiful and low maintenance plant that is sure to add a pop of color to your garden. Whether you choose one of the many varieties or stick with the classic blue, you're sure to love this stunning wildflower.

30 Facts About Perennial Cornflower

  1. Scientific Name: The Perennial Cornflower is scientifically known as Centaurea montana.

  2. Common Names: It is also commonly referred to as Mountain Cornflower or Bachelor's Button.

  3. Origin: Perennial Cornflower is native to Europe, but it has been naturalized in various regions around the world.

  4. Hardiness: It is a hardy perennial, capable of withstanding colder temperatures and thriving in various climates.

  5. Appearance: The plant features distinctive, vibrant blue to violet flowers with a tufted center, surrounded by finely divided green leaves.

  6. Height: It typically grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm).

  7. Blooming Season: Perennial Cornflower blooms from late spring to early summer, creating a colorful display in gardens.

  8. Sunlight Requirements: It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

  9. Soil Preference: Well-drained soil is ideal for Perennial Cornflower, and it can adapt to various soil types.

  10. Drought Tolerance: Once established, it shows good tolerance to drought conditions.

  11. Wildlife Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to garden biodiversity.

  12. Medicinal Uses: Historically, certain parts of the plant were used in traditional medicine for various ailments.

  13. Cultural Significance: Bachelor's Button, another common name, comes from the historical use of the flower in men's boutonnieres.

  14. Longevity: As a perennial, it can live for multiple years, flowering each season.

  15. Low Maintenance: Perennial Cornflower is relatively low-maintenance, making it a popular choice for gardens.

  16. Companion Planting: It can be used as a companion plant to attract beneficial insects to the garden.

  17. Cut Flower: The long stems and attractive flowers make it suitable for cut flower arrangements.

  18. Invasive Potential: In some regions, Perennial Cornflower can become invasive if not properly managed.

  19. Seed Propagation: It reproduces through seeds, and self-seeding is common in favorable conditions.

  20. Folklore: In folklore, the flower is associated with symbolism like love and fortune.

  21. Culinary Uses: While not commonly consumed, certain cultures have used the petals for culinary purposes, such as in salads.

  22. Herbaceous Growth: It has herbaceous growth, meaning the plant dies back to the ground in winter.

  23. Fragrance: Some varieties of Perennial Cornflower may have a mild, pleasant fragrance.

  24. Tolerant of Poor Soil: It can tolerate poorer soils, making it adaptable to various garden conditions.

  25. Landscaping: Besides gardens, Perennial Cornflower is often used in landscaping projects, providing a burst of color.

  26. Deer Resistant: It is known to be deer-resistant, making it a good choice in areas with deer populations.

  27. Container Gardening: Perennial Cornflower can be grown in containers, adding versatility to its uses.

  28. Variety of Colors: While blue is common, there are cultivars with pink, white, or purple flowers.

  29. Mildew Resistance: Certain varieties exhibit resistance to powdery mildew, a common issue in some flowering plants.

  30. Celebrated in Art: The distinct and vivid appearance of the Perennial Cornflower has made it a subject in various works of art throughout history.


Perennial Cornflower filmed at the following locations:
  • Nob End, Bolton, Greater Manchester: 25th May 2023
  • Adlington, Lancashire: 14th June 2022

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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