Spotted Knapweed - Centaurea maculosa • (Composite family - Compositae)


Spotted Knapweed - Centaurea maculosa • (Composite family - Compositae) A highly branched, wiry-stemmed plant with lavender heads composed entirely of disk flowers; stem has soft hairs. Tiny, indistinguishable, many forming a head made up of clusters of small tubular flowers, the outermost resembling ray flowers. Leaves all deeply cleft. Flowers pink, purple or white. Bracts, pale and ribbed with a fringed black triangular tip. 1 - 4 ft. Fields, roadsides.




The knapweeds, also called Star-thistles, are European imports that escaped from cultivation. Although the lower heads resemble those of the thistle, most of these plants have no spines. The shape and color of the scale-like bracts that form the base of the head helps the botanist to distinguish between species. Another common name is Bachelor's Button, a reference to the practice of English maidens who wore the flower as a sign that they were eligible for marriage. North Africans eat the leaves and young stems of some species in salads and feed the plant to camels.

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