Centaurea cyanus - Cornflower - (Asteraceae)

This annual wild flower, a close relative of the knapweeds, has become very scarce in recent years; it was once very common on wasteland and on arable farmland. The use of agricultural herbicides has virtually eradicated this beautiful wildflower from the UK landscape, and it is now only seen if seed has been deliberately spread. In some parts of southern Europe where intensive farming regimes have yet to be adopted it is still common to see cornfields flushed with bright blue and scarlet due to the presence of cornflowers and poppies. No good for fodder production maybe, but excellent food for the human spirit!

Cornflower

A close relative, Centaurea montana, is a creeping perennial that is often grown in parks and gardens.