This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
There are few florets in the disk or centre, and the anther-cylinders project at distant points. On an insect touching them the anther-stalks contract, and the cylinder is depressed. A mass of pollen quickly emerges from the upper opening of the cylinder, and the style is projected 3 - 4 mm. beyond it. The Honey Bee, Bombus silvarum, Megachile, Psammophila, Diptera, Empis livida, Eristalis arbustomm, Rhingia rostrata, and the Silver Y Moth (Plusia gamma) visit it.
The pappus, which is shorter than the fruits, assists in dispersing the smooth achenes by the wind.
The leaves are liable to attack by a clustercup fungus, Puccinia suaveolens.
A moth, Depressaria liturella, and a fly, Trypeta colon, are found on it.
Centaurea, Pliny, is from Centaur, in heathen mythology half-man, half-horse. Centaury helped to cure Chiron when one of Her-cules's arrows entered his foot. The name was also Chiron ion. Chiron was versed in the knowledge of herbs. cyanos, blue.
Bluebottle is called Bachelor's Buttons, Witch Bells, Blaver, Blave-role, Blawort, Blue Blawort, Blewball, Blewblow, Blue-blaw, Blue-caps, Blue-bottle, Blue-bonnets, Blue Poppy, Break-your-Spectacles, Brushes, Corn Centaury, Corn-binks, Corn-bottle, Corn-flower, Cuckoo-hood, Hawdod, Hurt-sickle, Knobweed, Knotweed, Loggerheads, Thumble, Witches' Thimble.
"Gay lark-heels soon, and Bottles will o'er run The fields with numerous crops tho' never sown."
As to the name Hurt-sickle, Turner says: "Some herbaries call it Cyanus, Pliny, is from the Greek baptisecula or blaptisecula because it hurteth sides, which were ones called of old writers seculae". The name Loggerheads is given because of the resemblance of its knobbed involucres to a weapon so called, consisting of a ball of iron at the end of a stick.
Photo. Dr. Sonienille Hastings - Corn-Flowers (Centaurea Cyanus, L.)
In Goethe's Faust, Margaret selects it as the floral indication by which she may learn the truth respecting Faust:
"And that scarlet poppies around like a bower, The maiden found her mystic flower. 'Now gentle flower, I pray thee tell If my love loves, and loves me well; So may the fall of the morning dew Keep the sun from fading thy tender blue. Now I remember the leaves for my lot - He loves me not - he loves me - he loves me not. He loves me! yes, the last leaf - yes; I'll pluck thee not for that last sweet guess. He loves me!' 'Yes,' a dear voice sighed, And her lover stands by Margaret's side."
Essential Specific Characters: 175. Centaurea Cyanus, L. - Stem tall, branched, downy, leaves lanceolate, lower dentate or pinnatifid, flowerheads blue, disk purple, phyllaries decurrent, fringed, pectinate, anthers dark, involucre greenish-yellow.