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cornflower, common herb (Centaurea cyanus) of the family Asteraceae (aster family). It is a garden flower in the United States but a weed in the grainfields of Europe. It is called bluebottle or bluet in England and bluebonnet in Scotland; in North America the cornflower shares with other plants the names ragged robin, bachelor's button, or ragged sailor. The long-stemmed blue heads of the flowers, having radiating bottle- or vase-shaped florets, yield a juice which, mixed with alum, has been used as a dye. Cornflowers are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
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Intense blue strikingly shaped flower with grey-green stem, grows up to 3 ft tall (1m) with thin sword-shaped leaves. Juiced stems and flowers used externally to treat wounds and cuts, mouth sores, infectious disease, weak eyes, dark circles and wrinkles under eyes, inflammation of eyelids, bruises, insect bites, stings. Internally used for diarrhea, kidney and urinary issues, rheumatism.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Centaurea), a genus of herbaceous plants of the family Compositae. The inflorescences (calathides) have bristly receptacles and tubular, varicolored flowers (purple, pink, blue, yellow); the marginal ones are sexless, and if enlarged, are shaped like tubular funnels. There are over 550 species in Eurasia, tropical Africa, and North and South America (Chile), and there is one species in Australia. The greatest number of representatives are in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern countries. In the USSR there are approximately 180 species; widely distributed (except in the Far North) are the blue cornflower (C. cyanus) and the meadow cornflower (C. jacea). The blue cornflower is a weed but is also a nectariferous and medicinal plant. Some cornflowers are grown as decorative plants.


Flora SSSR, [vol.] 28. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a Eurasian herbaceous plant, Centaurea cyanus, with blue, purple, pink, or white flowers, formerly a common weed in cornfields: family Asteraceae (composites)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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