Centaurea cyanus is also known as Cornflower or Bachelor’s Buttons. In fact, it has a long list of names I will include at the end of this page. This is the national flower of Estonia. It is also a symbol in Germany and Austria. It is 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 that flowers in spring and summer. It is native to Europe.
Originally Centaurea cyanus or Cornflower was treated as a weed. Since it grows around cornfields, therefore, the reason for the common name Cornflower. However, now it is mostly grown as an ornamental flower and disappearing from its natural habitat.
Centaurea cyanus or Cornflower grows from 40 to 90cm or 1.2 to 3ft. It has grayish-green stems. It has lanceolate foliage. The flowers are probably one of the bluest I have seen. It is a beautiful shade of violet-blue. Through cultivation, there are other Cornflower colors such as pink, white, purple, or very dark maroon.
The flowers are edible. They use Centaurea cyanus as decoration on cakes or salads. They also brew it as tea.
How to grow Centaurea cyanus:
Grow Centaurea cyanus in the sun. Plant it in well-drained soil. It is usually pest-free. Watch out for powdery mildew. Deadhead the flowers to prolong flowering. Propagate by seed. Centaurea cyanus 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: