Centaurea nigra

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Centaurea nigra
Centaurea nigra-3233.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species: C. nigra
Binomial name
Centaurea nigra
Centaurea nigra - MHNT
Meadow Brown butterfly on knapweed

Centaurea nigra is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family known by the common names Lesser Knapweed, Common Knapweed and Black Knapweed. A local vernacular name is Hardheads.

It is native to Europe but it is known on other continents as an introduced species and often a noxious weed.


It is a perennial herb growing up to about a metre in height.

The leaves are up to 25 centimetres long, usually deeply lobed, and hairy. The lower leaves are stalked, whilst the upper ones are stalkless.

The inflorescence contains a few flower heads, each a hemisphere of black or brown bristly phyllaries. The head bears many small bright purple flowers. The fruit is a tan, hairy achene 2 or 3 millimetres long, sometimes with a tiny, dark pappus. Flowers July until September.[1] flowers sometimes are yellow, or white

Wildlife value[edit]

Important for Gatekeeper butterfly, Goldfinch, Honey bee, Large skipper, Lime-speck pug moth, Meadow Brown, Painted lady, Peacock, Red admiral, Small copper, Small skipper

Similar species[edit]

Brown Knapweed Centaurea jacea is different in having pale brown bract appendages, no pappus. Flowers August until September.


  1. ^ Rose, Francis (1981). The Wild Flower Key. Frederick Warne & Co. pp. 386–387. ISBN 0-7232-2419-6. 

External links[edit]