Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus): Introduction, Classification, Description and Uses

Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus): Introduction, Classification, Description and Uses


The annual blooming plant Centaurea cyanus also referred to as cornflower or bachelor’s button is a member of the Asteraceae family and is indigenous to Europe. It got its name because it used to frequently grow as a weed in cornfields, where “corn” is used to refer to a variety of cereals, including wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Due to agricultural intensification, notably the excessive use of herbicides, it is now threatened in its natural habitat. Through introduction as a decorative plant in gardens and as a seed contaminant in crop seeds, Centaurea cyanus has now become naturalised in many other regions of the world, including North America and portions of Australia.



Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Asterales

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Centaurea

Species: C. cyanus

Binomial name: Centaurea cyanus

Origin: Bachelor’s Button, also known as cornflower, is a plant that is indigenous to Southern Europe and is frequently seen in grain fields. In its natural environment, it is currently regarded as endangered.

Habitat: Bachelor’s Button favours dry disturbed places including roadside ditches, riverbanks, meadows, fields, and grasslands.


An annual with grey-green branching branches that can reach heights of 40 to 90 cm, Centaurea cyanus is a plant. The lance-shaped, 1-4 cm long leaves have a narrow base. The blooms are often a deep blue colour and are grouped in flowerheads (capitula) that are 1.5 to 3 cm in diameter. A ring of a few big, spreading ray florets surrounds a central cluster of disc florets. About 3.5 mm in length, fruits have bristles on the pappus that are 2-3 mm long. Summertime is when it blooms.

Roots: Bachelor’s Button has a sizable taproot.

Stems: The height of mature plants ranges from 0.2 to 1.2 m. Grayish-green, branching, upright, and loosely-haired stems are seen.

Leaves: Grey-green, matte, lanceolate leaves with narrow upper leaves and smooth margins. Along their borders, the lower leaves may have teeth or lobes. They can be up to 1 cm wide and 13 cm long.

Flowers: Have fringed edges and a pompom-like shape. They are often wider than 3 cm. The bell-shaped peripheral blooms have expanded irregular corollas. Flowers are frequently blue, although they can also be purple, pink, or white.

Centaurea cyanus

Seeds: Seedsare 4 to 5 mm long and have tiny sticky bristles connected to one end. Typically, the seeds have a straw-coloured appearance.

Similar Species Invading: Mountain Bluet (Centaurea montana), a relative of Bachelor’s Button. Finer foliage can be seen on Bachelor’s Button.

Non-invasive: Cupid’s Dart (Catananche caerulea) is a long-stalked flower with jagged-edged blue or purple flower heads. It grows in similar conditions to Bachelor’s Button.

Vectors of Spread: Bachelor’s Button is spread by gardeners; it is frequently planted in gardens and is present in many seed mixtures for wildflowers. Crop seed frequently contains Bachelor’s Buttons as contamination. Additionally, seeds are dispersed by wind, water, and birds that eat the seeds.

Reproduction: Bachelor’s Button reproduces through seed. After planting, they sprout up very quickly, which aids in rapid plant spread.

Bachelor’s Button can be controlled by: 

Mechanical Control: The best technique to lessen Bachelor’s Button is by repeatedly hand-pulling and removing the entire root system. Regular mowing and tilling can slow the spread of weeds; if the plant hasn’t flowered yet, the material can be left on the property to decay. All plant components from Bachelors’ Button must be bundled and buried thoroughly at the landfill after they have flowered. When tilling, make sure to wash the equipment to stop it from spreading root fragments to new places.

Chemical Control: When plants are in the rosette stage, they should be treated. It has been proven effective to control Bachelor’s Button by applying glyphosate and either aminopyralid or clopyralid at the dosage suggested on the chemical label. We advise anyone using herbicides to only do so if they have a current BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate. You must read and abide by the herbicide labels, application rates, local, regional, provincial, and federal rules and regulations, species-specific treatment recommendations, and site-specific aims and objectives before choosing and using herbicides.

Biological Control: For this plant, there are no biological control agents currently on the market.

Uses of Bachelor’s Button


You can eat the blooms of Centaurea cyanus uncooked, dried, or cooked. Foods, especially seasonings, require dried petals. They mostly serve to colourize meals. Raw petals can be found in some oils or cheeses. Additionally, petals in their raw or dried forms can be used as garnishes on salads, beverages, or desserts.


Tea and other drinks can also contain dried petals. Sometimes one of the ingredients in Lady Grey tea is blue cornflower petals.

Ornamental use

An ornamental plant is centaurea cyanus. Some variations have petals that are blue, white, purple, pink, or even black.


The anthocyanin pigment protocyanin, which is also present in roses, is what gives Centaurea cyanus its blue hue. As natural food additives, several anthocyanins obtained from Centaurea cyanus are employed in foods like yoghurt.

Medicinal purpose

Numerous pharmacologically potent substances, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, and aromatic acids, are present in Centaurea cyanus. In herbal medicine, the flower head is utilised most often, but leaves and seeds are also used, albeit to a lesser amount, for pharmacological purposes.

Particularly, flower head extracts have anti-inflammatory effects that are used to treat mild eye inflammations. Ascorbic acid and phenolic chemicals are responsible for the high antioxidant capabilities. Because they contain quercetin, apigenin, and caffeic acid derivatives, extracts of the plant’s flower head and vegetative sections have also been demonstrated to have gastroprotective benefits.


Centaurea cyanus has been investigated for lead-contaminated soil phytoremediation. The production of biomass and lead uptake by Centaurea cyanus would be greatly increased by the inoculation of the polluted soil with Glomus spp. and Pseudomonas spp. bacteria.

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