Scientific name: Centaurea cyanus
Nature Stars: 80
About: Once an arable weed, this plant is now most likely to occur as a garden escape or as part of intentional wildflower seeding. Its strongholds remain roadside verges, scrub and wasteland. In flower June to August.
How to identify: Beautifully shaped blue petals, somewhat triangular with frayed edges, branch out from a deeper purple blue, almost fuzzy centre. Stems and leaves are long and pointy with hairy, blackish buds at the tips.
Where: Widespread but scarce and declining
Fantastic fact: The name cornflower somes from its association with arable or 'corn' fields where its reputation as a pest led to its decline as herbicides and agricultural intensification drove it out.
Photograph credit: Richard Burkmar