Centaurea cyanus is also known as Cornflower or Bachelor’s Buttons as well as other long lists of names I will include at the end of this page. This is the national flower of Estonia and it is also a symbol in Germany and Austria. It is also used as a symbol by political parties in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia. Centaurea cyanus belongs to the Asteraceae family of plants. It is an upright annual which flowers in spring and summer. It is native to Europe.
Originally Centaurea cyanus or Cornflower was treated as weed and as it grew around cornfields therefore the name Cornflower. However, now it is mostly grown as an ornamental flower and disappearing from its natural habitat.
It grows from 40 to 90cm or 1.2 to 3ft. it has grayish-green stems with lanceolate foliage. The flowers are probably one of the bluest I have seen, it is a beautiful shade of toilet blue. Through cultivation, we have other Cornflower colors such as pink, white, purple, or very dark maroon.
The flowers are edible and used as decoration on cakes or salads, as well as brewed as a tea. Plant them in the sun in well-drained soil. They are usually pest-free but watch out for powdery mildew. Deadhead the flowers to prolong flowering. Propagate by seed. Seeds germinate fast.
As to the common name Bachelor’s Button is due to stories that men in love used to wear the flower and if it faded very quickly it meant the love would not be returned and is short-lived. There is also a story that Beautiful Queen Louise of Prussia while fleeing Napoleon’s forces, hid her children in a Cornflower field and therefore it became a national symbol in Germany.
Centaurea cyanus is known by many common names such as you can see in the list below: