A Wow Hardhead

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COMMON KNAPWEED - Also known as Hardheads, Starthisles, Loggerheads.

  BELONGS to the Daisy Family of plants

LOOKS LIKE - Stalkless and untoothed leaves on tough stems. The striking feature is the globular flower head out of which bursts an impressive purple flower.

  HAS FLOWERS FROM - June to September

  CAN BE SPOTTED - on waysides, grasslands, cliffs and hedges throughout Britain. Mainly in Western Europe and North to Central Scandinavia.

STORY - It was believed that Hardheads could be used to tell a maiden's future. A girl picks the florets off a flower head, puts the rest inside her blouse then after an hour, takes it out and sees if the unexpanded florets have blossomed. If they have, her marriage partner was on his way.

POLLINATION - The flowers can go from a male stage to a female stage making it possible for self pollination. Usually though, the copious nectar production of this plant, attracts many different insects which are responsible for cross pollination after which seeds are dispersed by the wind.

NAME - Hardheads/Knapweed get there name from the knob like flower heads, 'knap' meaning a knob. The botanical name 'Centaurea' could have come from the name of the wisest centaur of Greek myth, 'Chiron' who, it was said, used the plant to heal wounds.

USES - As the plant attracts many different insects that would attack crops it's a wise move for farmers to allow it to grow around the edges of fields. They are major honey plants for beekeepers.


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