Species of flowering plant within the daisy household Asteraceae
Centaurea cyanus, generally often known as cornflower or bachelor’s button,[note 1] is an annual flowering plant within the household Asteraceae native to Europe. Up to now, it usually grew as a weed in cornfields (within the broad sense of “corn”, referring to grains, similar to wheat, barley, rye, or oats), therefore its identify. It’s now endangered in its native habitat by agricultural intensification, notably by over-use of herbicides. Nonetheless, Centaurea cyanus is now additionally naturalised in lots of different elements of the world, together with North America and elements of Australia by way of introduction as a decorative plant in gardens and as a seed contaminant in crop seeds.
Centaurea cyanus is an annual plant rising to 40–90 cm tall, with grey-green branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate and 1–4 cm lengthy. The flowers are mostly an intense blue color and organized in flowerheads (capitula) of 1.5–3 cm diameter, with a hoop of some giant, spreading ray florets surrounding a central cluster of disc florets. The blue pigment is protocyanin, which in roses is pink. Fruits are approx. 3.5 mm lengthy with 2-Three mm lengthy pappus bristles. It flowers all summer time.
Centaurea cyanus is native to temperate Europe, however is broadly naturalized exterior its native vary. It has been current within the British Isles as an archaeophyte (historical introduction) for the reason that Iron Age. In the UK, it has declined from 264 websites to simply Three websites within the final 50 years. In response to this, the conservation charity Plantlife named it as one in all 101 species it might actively work to convey ‘again from the brink’. Within the County Clare (VC H9) in Eire, Centaurea cyanus is recorded in arable fields as very uncommon and virtually extinct, whereas within the North-East of Eire, it was considerable earlier than the 1930s.
Genetics and Breeding
Centaurea cyanus is a diploid flower (2n = 24). The genetic variety inside populations is excessive, though there could possibly be a future decline in variety on account of inhabitants fragmentation and intensive agriculture. On the whole, Centaurea cyanus is a self-incompatible species. Nonetheless, selfing nonetheless happens often, however ends in inbreeding despair.
A number of cultivars of Centaurea cyanus with various pastel colors, together with pink and purple, have been chosen for decorative functions. The species can be grown for the cutflower trade in Canada to be used by florists. Doubled blue cultivars (similar to ‘Blue Boy’ or ‘Blue Diadem’) are mostly used for this objective, however white, pink, lavender and black (really a really darkish maroon) cultivars are additionally used, albeit to a lesser extent.
As for all decorative vegetation, vital objectives of Centaurea cyanus breeding embody the induction of phenotypic variation (e.g. in flower coloration, dimension and form, foliage traits or plant top), increased flower yield, resistance to pests and illnesses in addition to tolerance to abiotic stress (e.g. excessive temperatures, drought or salinity).
Weed in arable crops
Centaurea cyanus is taken into account a noxious weed in arable crops, particularly cereals and rapeseed. In winter wheat, one plant per m2 may cause a yield lack of as much as 30 kg / ha.Centaurea cyanus produces round 800 seed per plant, that are both shed shortly earlier than the harvest of cereals, or they’re threshed along with the cereal grains, contributing to the additional unfold of the species by the harvesting equipment and contaminated seed. The prevalence of Centaurea cyanus strongly decreased over the last a long time on account of improved seed cleansing, extra intensive nitrogen fertilization and herbicide use. Nonetheless, Centaurea cyanus has change into extra frequent in cropland on account of a rise in crop rotations dominated by winter cereals and rapeseed and using extra selective herbicides with a low effectiveness in opposition to Centaurea cyanus. As well as, the emergence of resistance in opposition to the herbicide class of sulfonylureas has been reported lately. As a consequence of its robust roots, Centaurea cyanus is troublesome to regulate mechanically in spring.
Fodder for bugs and birds
The pollen of Centaurea cyanus is utilized by a number of totally different insect species. Bugs of the orders Hymenoptera and Diptera are notably attracted by the flower. As Centaurea cyanus is a self-incompatible species, it wants exterior pollination. The nectar of Centaurea cyanus may be very candy with a sugar content material of 34 %. As a consequence of its excessive sugar manufacturing of as much as 0.2 mg sugar per day and flower, the species is extremely appreciated by beekeepers.
The seeds of Centaurea cyanus are one of many favorite meals of the European goldfinch.
Management of insect pests
Centaurea cyanus was discovered to supply volatiles attracting Microplitis mediator, which is a serious parasitoid of the cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae), which is a very powerful pest of cabbage (Brassica oleracea) in central Europe. Planting Centaurea cyanus in cabbage fields as a companion plant was thus urged as a substitute for the widespread use of pesticides to regulate Mamestra brassicae. Area experiments confirmed that planting Centaurea cyanus in cabbage fields at a density of 1 plant / m2 may end up in a major improve in parasitation of Mamestra brassicae larvae, predation of Mamestra brassicae eggs (e.g. by carabid beetles or spiders) and in the end cabbage yield.
Soil and local weather necessities
Centaurea cyanus requires full solar and impartial (pH 6.6-7.5) to mildly alkaline (pH 7.6-7.8), moist and well-drained soil. Nonetheless, Centaurea cyanus is kind of tolerant to drought as soon as established.
For summer-blooming vegetation, sowing ought to be executed in late spring. In reasonable climates, nevertheless, it’s also doable to sow Centaurea cyanus in early fall. On this case, vegetation will already begin to flower within the following spring. Advisable spacing between vegetation is approx. 20 to 30 cm.Centaurea cyanus can germinate from as much as 10 cm depth, however the perfect result’s obtained at 1 cm sowing depth. Germination happens rapidly after sowing.
Fertilization and cultural practices
Excessive phosphorus fertilization in mid-summer will improve flower manufacturing. Mulching is advisable to stop drying out of the soil and publicity of the basis system to the solar.
Pests and illnesses
On the whole, Centaurea cyanus isn’t very inclined to pests and plant illnesses. Nonetheless, it might be affected by stem rot and stem rust if grown too tightly  or by powdery mildew. Moreover, aphids and leafhoppers may cause related harm to Centaurea cyanus.
Seeds are harvested both by hand or, in an agricultural setting, with a seed harvesting machine.
Hand accumulating could be time-consuming and yields are somewhat low.
A seed harvesting machine is extra environment friendly than accumulating the seeds by hand, however it’s expensive. The primary precept of such a machine is that it brushes the ripe seeds off the plant and creates a cross circulate fan motion that generates ample air velocity to carry and collect the seeds into the seed bunker.
The flowers of Centaurea cyanus could be eaten uncooked, dried or cooked. Dried petals are utilized in teas and spices. Their principal objective is so as to add shade to the drinks or meals. There are cheeses or oils that comprise uncooked petals. Petals will also be added to salads, drinks or deserts for garnishing functions in uncooked or dried kind.
Centaurea cyanus is used as a decorative plant. There are varieties with blue, white, purple, pink and even black petals.
The blue shade of Centaurea cyanus is because of protocyanin, an anthocyanin pigment that can be present in roses. Completely different anthocyanins derived from Centaurea cyanus are used as pure components in meals merchandise, similar to yoghurts.
Centaurea cyanus accommodates a variety of pharmacologically energetic compounds, similar to flavonoids, anthocyanins and fragrant acids. Particularly the flower head finds utility in natural drugs, however leaves and seeds are additionally used for pharmacological functions, albeit to a lesser extent.
Particularly, extracts from the flower heads have anti-inflammatory properties used within the remedy of minor ocular inflammations.Antioxidant properties are excessive on account of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds. Moreover, extracts of the flower head and vegetative elements of the plant had been proven to have gastroprotective results on account of their content material of quercetin, apigenin and caffeic acid derivates.
Centaurea cyanus has been evaluated for phytoremediation of soils contaminated with lead. Inoculation of the contaminated soil with Glomus spp. (fungus) and Pseudomonas spp. (bacterium) would considerably improve the biomass manufacturing and lead uptake of Centaurea cyanus.
Folklore and symbolism
In folklore, cornflowers had been worn by younger males in love; if the flower light too rapidly, it was taken as an indication that the person’s love was not returned.:126
The blue cornflower has been the nationwide flower of Estonia since 1918 and symbolizes every day bread to Estonians. It’s also the image of the Estonian Conservative Folks’s Social gathering, the Finnish Nationwide Coalition Social gathering, and the Liberal Folks’s Social gathering of Sweden, the place it has for the reason that daybreak of the 20th century been an emblem for social liberalism. It’s the official flower of the Swedish province of Östergötland and the college flower of Winchester School and likewise of Dulwich School, the place it’s stated to have been the favorite flower of the founder, Edward Alleyn.
The blue cornflower was one of many nationwide symbols of Germany. That is partly because of the story that when Queen Louise of Prussia was fleeing Berlin and pursued by Napoleon’s forces, she hid her kids in a area of cornflowers and saved them quiet by weaving wreaths for them from the flowers. The flower thus grew to become recognized with Prussia, not least as a result of it was the identical shade because the Prussian army uniform. After the unification of Germany in 1871, it went on to change into an emblem of the nation as a complete. For that reason, in Austria the blue cornflower is a political image for pan-German and rightist concepts. It was worn as a secret image figuring out members of the then-illegal NSDAP in Austria within the 1930s. Members of the Freedom Social gathering wore it on the openings of the Austrian parliament since 2006. After the final normal election 2017 they changed it with the edelweiss.
It was additionally the favorite flower of Louise’s son Kaiser Wilhelm I. Due to its ties to royalty, authors similar to Theodor Fontane have used it symbolically, usually sarcastically, to touch upon the social and political local weather of the time.
The cornflower can be usually seen as an inspiration for the German Romantic image of the Blue Flower.
As a consequence of its conventional affiliation with Germany, the cornflower has been made the official image of the annual German-American Steuben Parade.
In France the bleuet de France is the image of the 11 November 1918 armistice and, as such, a standard image for veterans (particularly the now defunct poilus of World Warfare I), much like the Remembrance poppies worn in the UK and in Canada.
The cornflower can be the image for motor neurone illness and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Cornflowers are typically worn by Previous Harrovians, former pupils of the British Harrow College.
A blue cornflower was utilized by Corning Glass Works for the preliminary launch of Corning Ware Pyroceram cookware. Its reputation in the US, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia was so excessive that it grew to become the image of Corning Glass Works.
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