Facts about Cornflower
Once widespread in meadows and fields, it is now slowly disappearing from the landscape due to the industrialization of agriculture and the use of herbicides. Although many people consider it a weed and a "field flower," the cornflower is a plant used in many industries.
1Cornflower is an annual plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family.
It is a member of the cornflowers, a genus that includes about 500 species of herbaceous plants.
2It is native to the temperate climate zones of Europe. In Britain, it is an archaeophyte.
An archaeophyte is a plant that was introduced to a new area by humans in distant times. The cut-off date for archaeophytes is considered the end of the 15th century, the time of the great geographical discoveries. The cornflower came to Britain during the Iron Age.
3In modern times it was introduced to North America.
There it was given the local name cornflower because it grows very often in cornfields.
4In the wild, it is most likely to grow in cultivated fields.
It used to be a fairly common landscape feature, but with the increasing use of herbicides, the range of the cornflower has decreased significantly. Recent reports indicate that cornflowers are beginning to cope with some types of herbicides, making them more difficult to control in cultivated areas.
5Cornflower requires a sunny spot and neutral to slightly alkaline soil.
It grows best at pH levels between 6.6 and 7.8 in moist and well-drained soil. If well rooted, it can survive even temporary droughts.
6It can reach a height of 30 to 90 cm (12 to 35.5 in).
The leaves are 1 to 4 cm (0.4 to 1.6 in) long and the inflorescences are 1.5 to 3 cm (0.6 to 1.2 in) in diameter.
7The plant has a very strong root system, which makes it difficult to remove in the spring before sowing in the field.
8The blue color of cornflower flowers is due to their content of protocyanin.
The same compound is responsible for the red color of rose petals.
9It is a self-pollinating plant, although its pollen and nectar attract many insects.
Hymenoptera and flies (Diptera) are particularly susceptible to the attracting effects of the cornflower.
10Cornflower nectar is very sweet - so it is highly valued by beekeepers.
Sugar makes up as much as 34% of cornflower nectar, and its ability to produce sugar is 0.2 mg per day.