Centaurea jacea

Botanical Name: Centaurea jacea
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species: C. jacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:Knapweed,Brown Knapweed or Brownray Knapweed

Habitat :Centaurea jacea is native to dry meadows and open woodland throughout Europe.

Description:
Centaurea jacea is a PERENNIAL plant growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.

• Flower size: flowerheads 1 to 1-1/4 inch across
Flower color: magenta
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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade.It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. Plants are suitable for the wild garden and for naturalising. This species is hardy to at least -15°c. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

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Propagation :
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter;  Diuretic;  Ophthalmic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

The root is bitter tonic, diuretic and stomachic. An excellent bitter for treating difficult digestive systems, it is still used in rural areas as a digestive and also to reduce the temperature of feverish children. A distilled water made from the leaves is used as an eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis

As an astringent it is used for piles, a decoction of the herb being taken in doses of 1-2 fl oz three times a day. This will also be useful for sore throat if used as a gargle.  An infusion of the flowering part is also helpful in diabetes mellitus.  The root is bitter tonic, diuretic and stomachic. An excellent bitter for treating difficult digestive systems, it is still used in rural areas as a digestive and also to reduce the temperature of feverish children. A distilled water made from the leaves is used as an eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis. It was also applied as a vulnerary and was used internally. Culpepper describes it as a mild astringent, ‘helpful against coughs, asthma, and difficulty of breathing, and good for diseases of the head and nerves,’ and tells us that ‘outwardly the bruised herb is famous for taking away black and blue marks out of the skin.’

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+jacea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea_jacea
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/centaureajace.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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