Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Centaurea montana

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Botanical Name : Centaurea montana
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species:C. montana
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Perennial cornflower, Mountain cornflower, Bachelor’s button, Montane knapweed or Mountain bluet

Habitat : Centaurea montana is native to Europe. It is widespread and common in the more southerly mountain ranges of Europe, but is rarer in the north. It escapes from gardens readily, and has thereby become established in the British Isles, Scandinavia and North America. It grows on Mountain woodland margins and meadows.

Centaurea montana is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.  It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.   It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a moist well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. The plants have creeping rhizomes and form spreading patches. A good bee plant. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers.
Seed – sow March in a greenhouse. 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. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in August in a greenhouse, overwintered under cover, and planted out in spring. 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 plants vigour. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 5 – 10cm 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:
Mountain cornflower is seldom used in modern herbalism, though it does still have a reputation in parts of Europe as a wash for tired eyes. It is considered to be most effective on blue eyes, great plantain (Plantago majus) being used for brown eyes. The dried flowers are antitussive, astringent, weakly diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic, very mildly purgative and tonic. An infusion can be used as a treatment for dropsy, constipation, as a mouthwash for bleeding gums and as an eye bath for conjunctivitis.

Other Uses: Can be used as a ground cover plant in a sunny position.

Ornamental Uses : Centaurea montana grows in gardens where it grows best in sunny positions.

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.