Species: Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)


Category: Flowering Plants

Location: SE

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.


This is one of the largest worldwide flowering plant families and is well represented in the UK. The name Compositae refers to the clustering of the flowers (called florets) into compact heads, so that an entire cluster represents a single 'flower'. They also have one-seeded fruits called achenes.

C. Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)

Greater Knapweed can be mistaken for Common of Black Knapweed that is more numerous in the Cemetery, although it has a larger, more ragged purple flower than does the latter. Its outer florets protrude distinctively, distinguishing it from Common Knapweed. Greater Knapweed is a perennial that flowers between June and September. It's a great favourite of butterflies, as they are attracted by the florets in the middle, not by the ragged but sterile ones that protrude round the flower head's perimeter.

The reddish magenta flowers of this calcareous grassland species would not be expected in the neutral soil of the Cemetery and may perhaps be explained by a patch of locally-submerged lime mortar from old brickwork providing the soil pH that it requires.

This plant food is favoured by Red-tailed Bumblebees.


Greater Knapweed

Greater Knapweed is a perennial that flowers between June and September.