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Centaurea nigra - L.                
                 
Common Name Black Knapweed
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grassland, waysides, cliffs etc to 600 metres[17].
Range Western Europe, including Britain, from Spain to Norway, east to Germany and Switzerland.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Centaurea nigra is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Centaurea nigra Black Knapweed


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Centaurea_nigra_Sturm24.jpg
Centaurea nigra Black Knapweed
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Xemenendura
   
Habitats       
 Meadow; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers.
Edible Uses:

Flower petals - raw. Added to salads[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Tonic.

The roots and seeds are diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary[4, 61]. The plant once had a very high reputation as a healer of wounds[4].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1, 200]. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position[200]. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils[200]. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect, thriving and even self-sowing in dense weed growth[K]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
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Subject : Centaurea nigra  
             

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