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Common Name: Black Knapweed
Centaurea nigra is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Western Europe, including Britain, from Spain to Norway, east to Germany and Switzerland.
Grassland, waysides, cliffs etc to 600 metres[
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, Lepidoptera, Self
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
]. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position[
]. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils[
]. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect, thriving and even self-sowing in dense weed growth[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Flower petals - raw. Added to salads[
The roots and seeds are diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary[
]. The plant once had a very high reputation as a healer of wounds[
Seed - sow mid spring 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.