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Cornflower-Centaurea cyanus-Bachelor's button

Centaurea cyanus, Cornflower on its popular name, or Bachelor's button (Boutonniere flower) or Bluebottle, is a small annual flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe.
Cornflower is a lovely ornamental plant in gardens, flowering from June until August.
The wild variety, with its flowers of an intense blue color, grew as a weed in crop fields, hence its name. Due to over-use of herbicides by agriculturists, it is now endangered in its native habitat, however, through introduction as an ornamental plant, the Bachelor's button is now naturalized in many other parts of the world.
Centaurea cyanus-Cornflower pictureWith several cultivars, having a great variety of pastel colors including white, pink, lavender and a very dark, almost black, Centaurea is also a beautiful addition to wildflower bouquets.

Cornflower is on of the preferred flowers of chefs too, the edible flower being occasionally used as a culinary ornament or to add color to salads. Also, cornflowers are often used as an ingredient in some tea blends and herbal teas. A decoction of cornflower is helpful in treating conjunctivitis, and as a wash for tired eyes.
Blue cornflower picture-Bachelor's buttonCornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) are among the few blue flowers that are truly blue, most blue flowers being a darker blue-purple mix.
This is one of the reasons why cornflowers have been used and prized historically for their blue pigment called anthocyanin. This mysterious pigment was first detected in the blue cornflower 1913. Later the very same pigment was found in the red rose. In almost a century, the mystery of how one pigment could produce two different colors and why are roses red and cornflowers blue has not been totally understood by scientists. That is only nature's secret, so far.
Commercial flower growers are trying to breed blue flowers from plants that do not naturally produce blue blooms, like a true blue rose. The blue roses available in present are producing delphinidin, found naturally in delphiniums. Cornflower blue is a different, brilliant sky blue, a shade of azure.
Cornflower mosaic-different colorsSymbolism of cornflower

In folklore, cornflowers were worn by young men in love; if the flower faded too quickly, it was believed to be a sign that the man's love was not returned.

Throughout Europe, the cornflower has been made the official symbol of Estonia, the Swedish province of Östergötlandand, it is one of the national flowers of Germany, of political parties in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, a common symbol for veterans in France.


Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Hi Maia: The blue cornflower is the official flower for the Horticulture Society I belong to. It is a beautiful little annual.

Jama said...

That blue flower is simply gorgeous!

Kathy said...

I'm just a sucker for pink flowers. But the blue one here is just as beautiful. Happy New Year, Maia!

Jayne said...

Beautiful photos Maia. The blue cornflower is stunning, but the other colors are lovely too.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous colors Maia - it makes me happy to look at them. When I was a child I planted these in our garden.

Joanne Olivieri said...

They almost look like dahlias and that blue one is just extraordinary.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

I can't finish linking again, my computer crashed many times.

I like wild corn flowers. Once, Auckland had an experiment planting wild flowers along the road from the airport. It was so beautiful.

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