File Size: 96 KB
Centaurea cyanus  L.
Riley County, Kansas
Height: 8-40 inches
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Also Called: Cornflower, bluebottle.
Stems: Erect or ascending, usually solitary, slender, green, densely white-woolly when young, openly branched at or above mid-point.
Leaves: Alternate; principal stem leaves entire, linear or linear-lanceolate, 1.6 to 4.6 inches long, 1/12 to 2/5 inch wide, grayish-woolly below; tip sharp-pointed; lower leaves sessile to short-stalked, sometimes toothed or lobed; upper leaves reduced, mostly sessile.
Inflorescences: Solitary heads, terminal on branch tips; many-flowered; involucre urn-shaped, 1/2 to 3/5 inch tall; involucral bracts ovate or lanceolate, overlapping, often purple-tinged; margins irregularly-cleft.
Flowers: Head 3/5 to 1 inch wide; florets 25-35, corollas mostly blue, sometimes purple, pink, or white; corollas of central disc florets 2/5 to 3/5 inch long, bisexual; corollas of marginal florets enlarged, 4/5 to 1 inch long, sterile; lobes lanceolate.
Fruits: Achene, egg-shaped or oblong, 1/8 to 1/5 inch long, flattened, yellowish-brown to grayish-brown or nearly black, stiff-hairy, bristles many, stiff, unequal, 1/12 to 1/6 inch long, yellowish-brown to brown, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Roadsides, fields, waste places, disturbed sites; occurs sporadically and does not persist long.
Distribution: Infrequently throughout Kansas
Origin: Introduced. Native to the Mediterranean region.
Uses: Native Americans applied bruised leaves to sores. Herbals state that the flowers and seeds were boiled with wine and taken to treat spider bites and scorpion stings. Superstition held that bachelor's button would cause bread to mold when brought into the house. (Stevens)
Comments: A widespread and somewhat weedy species. Bachelor's button is often planted in flower gardens and included in wildflower seed mixes and from there escapes to waste places and roadsides. Cyanus is from Greek kyanos, "sea-blue".

Bachelor's button
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Riley County, Kansas
Bachelor's button
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