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Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

Cornflower - Edible Flower

As a companion plant, the cornflower is often planted with wheat, barley, oats and other staple grain crops. Small quantities allow the quickly-germinating plant to keep the soil arable, which is essential for cereal crops. If you plant too much, the roots will extend and deprive other plants of water and nutrients.They quickly add colour to vegetable gardens once summer has arrived and make the place look all the more attractive for their presence. In addition they do their bit by drawing in diverse beneficial insects like pollinating bees, as well as ladybugs, lacewings and hoverflies whose larvae feed on aphids. Their pretty, blue flowers have a slightly spicy, clove-like flavour with a subtle sweetness. Cornflower petals look wonderful in salads. Use torn petals as a garnish, or whole flowers in fancy drinks.

How to grow

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly

Health and Medicinal Benefits

Two different varieties belong to the Centaurea (knapweed) genus: Mountain cornflower or Centaureamontana towhich digestive and diuretic properties are attributed.Indeed, cornflower flowers are known to stimulate and fortify the human body, reinforcing the immune system, liver activity and easing digestion. Field cornflower or Centaureacyanus, used to treat daily ailments such as mucus membrane and tissue inflammation and skin inflammation, pain and conjunctivitis.In these cases, what is effective is its soothing activity that is beneficial for rheumatism and infections or ocular irritation (sty, conjunctivitis). It usually appears as an ingredient in eye drops and eye lotions.Moreover, field cornflower floral water (or cornflower herbal distillate) helps alleviate sunburns, eye irritation, and even skin disorders.

If you are going to use Cornflower to treat an existing health condition please consult with your healthcare provider first.