Centaurea dealbata

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Centaurea dealbata
Centaurea dealbata flower.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species: C. dealbata
Binomial name
Centaurea dealbata

Centaurea dealbata (the Persian cornflower or whitewash cornflower) is a species of Centaurea native to the Caucasus Mountains. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental perennial.


The flowers of C. dealbata resemble those of C. americana in color and form; the composite inflorescence has rosy outer florets shading to cream in the center of the 2 in. disk, surrounded by scaly bracts on a slender peduncle 18 to 24 in. long. The blooming period is in early summer.

C. dealbata is most noteworthy for its leaves. Like those of C. moschata they are divided, but unlike the latter the division is quite regular. The undersides of the leaves are covered in silver hairs.


C. dealbata is widely cultivated as an ornamental, though it is not as well known as some other members of the genus. It is widely adaptable and drought-tolerant. The flowers attract butterflies and bees. It self-seeds to a degree.

The variety 'Steenbergii' is recognized, and several cultivars are available.

Sources tracking weed species generally classify it as a "casual alien"; that is, it escapes from gardens but is not invasive. In some areas of the United States it has naturalized.