Surprise seedlings revealed

I mentioned in my last blog post that I was looking forward to seeing what some unlabelled wildflower seedlings would turn into. Their flowers have finally started opening, confirming my growing suspicion of their identity…

… Cornflower! (Centaurea cyanus)

As some of the first wildflowers out in our garden, they have already been attracting some interest. A quick look this morning revealed two beetles and a hoverfly on them all at once.

Common Red Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)
Unidentified small black beetle (possibly a pollen beetle?)
Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)

Some more about cornflowers (information from Plantlife)…

  • Alternative names include: “bluebottle, bachelor’s buttons, blue bonnets, brooms and brushes, corn-blinks, ladder love, logger-heads, miller’s delight, pin-cushion, witch bells, witch’s thimble and blavers
  • They are most commonly found on the margins of arable fields.
  • They have declined over the past 60 years, with just over 100 long-established sites remaining in Britain in 2005.
  • Cornflower frequently contaminated rye and flax crops – loss of these crops and improved seed cleaning, as well as herbicide use, are the main causes of its decline.
  • Cornflower’s striking blue-purple heads are visible between June and August and often rise above crops in arable fields on stems up to a metre tall.

Now I’ve watched them grow, I’ll recognise their pale green, bristly narrow leaves, too! Fantastic addition to the garden.

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