Centaurea Colcitrapa

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

Common Names :Common Star Thistle,Purple starthistle, Red starthistle     ( The species name calcitrapa comes from the word caltrop, a type of weapon covered in sharp spikes.)

Habitat :Centaurea Colcitrapa is native to Europe but is rarely found there, it is known across the globe as an introduced species and often a noxious weed.Centaurea Colcitrapa occurs in waste places and by roadsides, but is somewhat rare and chiefly found in south-east England.

Description:
Centaurea Colcitrapa is an annual or Biennial plant growing erect to a maximum height of one to 1.3 metres. The stems are hairless and grooved.

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It sometimes takes the shape of a mound, and it is finely to densely hairy to spiny. The leaves are dotted with resin glands. The lowermost may reach a length of 20 centimeters and are deeply cut into lobes. The inflorescence contains a few flower heads. Each is 1.5 to 2 centimeters long and oval in general shape. The phyllaries are green or straw-colored and tipped in tough, sharp yellow spines. The head contains many bright purple flowers. The fruit is an achene a few millimeters long which lacks a pappus.

It flowers from July until September, and the seeds ripen from August to October.

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The Red Star-thistle has been identified as a Priority Species by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. It is identified as ‘vulnerable’ by the UNIC and is listed as Nationally Rare in the UK Red Data Book. There is no national or Sussex BAP for this species.

Cultivation: 
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

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 in the summer. If you have sufficient seed, it can also be sown in situ during August/September.

Edible Uses:  Leaves and young stems are eaten  raw or cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
The seeds used to be made into powder and drunk in wine as a remedy for stone, and the powdered root was considered a cure for fistula and gravel.

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

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thistl11.html#com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea_calcitrapa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+calcitrapa

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