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Centaurea cyanoides

Centaurea cyanoides
Centaurea cyanoides

Thanks one more time to Jackie for sharing a photograph and write-up from her travels to Israel. One last reminder that Jackie is speaking next Monday on Black Irises and Red Tulips - Wildflowers of Israel and Jordan. If I can get organized, I may set Jackie up with the laptop that records presentations and accompanying audio for the web, but no guarantee!

Syrian cornflower is a low growing, annual groundcover native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The entire plant may reach 10-25cm in height, and the foliage is smooth and silver in colour.

Although Centaurea cyanoides looks similar to the European cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), the Syrian cornflower is much smaller and is only found in the Middle East. The stunning blue inflorcence is produced in spring and early summer, and is only 2-3 cm wide. See the Flora of Israel website for more photographs of Centaurea cyanoides.

Like other members of the Asteraceae (the aster family), the flower head is actually made up of a cluster of tiny flowers called florets, and they are collectively referred to as an inflorescence. These florets are tubular in shape; the inner florets (called disk florets) are fertile, the larger outer florets (or ray florets) are sterile and showy to attract pollinators. The inflorescence sits in a cup-like structure called an involucre, made up of dark, bristly bracts (modified leaves). Ray florets, disk florets, and bristly toothed bracts are features shared by many Centaurea species. For a closer look at these interesting flower parts, Microscopy UK provides some lovely and extremely detailed photos of another member of this genus, Centaurea jacea.

11 Comments

Centaurea, sen-[or ken-] taw-re-a; from the classical name of a plant [kentaurion or centaureum] in the fables of ancient Greece, which is said to have healed a wound in the foot of Chiron, one of the Centaurs. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith

Lovely. I once read a description of the florets as looking like jets from a burner on a gas stove.

Thanks for the link to Microscopy UK. A site to get lost in!

Odd, isn’t it, how much beauty can be foud in such a small thing, and these flowers are not big, by any means. I would love to have a patch about 3 feet by 3 feet of these, and all along my fence some sweet peas, and another area about 6 feet by 6 feet of Shasta Daisies. Besides the roses I already have. Thanks for this lovely flower.

the first picture makes me think of some kind of extra-terrestrial creature in a funny movie. Excellent!

Another lovely flower, now why is it that us humans have this thing for the sexual organs of plants?

Fabulous! The cornflower is my absolute favorite. The color is so unique.

Absolutely beautiful. Many thanks.

> Another lovely flower, now why is it that us humans have this
> thing for the sexual organs of plants?
>
> Posted by: scytale at February 6, 2008 03:37 PM

We are meant to: It's because of our rods and cones (in our eyes) - we see the brilliant colors so well.

What wonderful glowing pictures. Even the tiny spiderweb in the full-face view is as clear and sharp as, uh, crystal? I would love to see a field of it. The 'ground cover' description makes it sound like one of our Californian seasonal-aspect flowers that can sprinkle a whole vista with yellow or blue.

The colours in this flower are beautiful. I really have enjoyed all the information also.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

This is GORGEOUS (mouth drops open!!).

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