Centaurea cyanus L.

Fully hardy annual with dark blue to pale blue, sometimes pink or white, flower heads in spring and summer. Highly variable in height, to 80cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

An ancient garden plant of medicinal use.  The juice of the petals makes a blue ink and can also be used as a non-permanent dye for linen.  ‘Small Blue Bottle.  Cyanus minor.  It grows near two feet high, the leaves are a willow green, and the flowers a fine blue.  It grows amongst the corn, and flowers in June and July.  The leaves and flowers are said to have the same virtues as those of the great Blue-Bottle, see Plate 66.  [This appears to be a garden form.  ‘It grows in gardens and flowers in June.  This is reckoned among the vulnerary plants, the juice being commended against bruises and contusions which come of falls, though a vein be broken and the party spit blood; as also to heal any cut or green wound.’] Some commend the distilled water of the flowers for sore, inflamed and bloodshot eyes.  The infusion and powder of the flowers are given as a remedy against the jaundice.’  Blackwell pl.270/1739.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [H.53/1843].  Possibly introduced as a source of dye although it has long been a popular garden plant.


Published Sep 14, 2009 - 05:08 PM | Last updated Jul 14, 2010 - 04:14 PM

Figured are flowering shoots with pale blue flowers and small purple bracts.  Blackwell pl.270, 1837.

Centaurea cyanus L. | Blackwell pl.270/1837 | BHL

More details about Centaurea cyanus L.
Family Asteraceae
Region of origin

Northern Temperate Regions, including Britain

  • Leucacantha cyanus Nieuwl. & Lunell 
Common Name

Blue-bottle, Cornflower, Batchelor?s buttons

Name in the Camden Park Record

Centaurea cyanea 

Confidence level high