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Knapweed (Centaurea jacea)



Diuretic, stomachic, anti-inflammatory (anti-inflammatory)

Areas of application:

Sores, sore throat, bleeding gums, fever, diarrhea

Plant parts used:


Collection time:

June to October

To find:

The knapweed can be found on semi-dry lawns and meadows.


Colors, tannins, bitter substances, flavonoids


The meadow knapweed is a perennial plant and can grow to between 30 and 60 cm in height, rarely even 70 to 150 cm. It forms rhizomes. The above-ground parts of the plant are green and short and stiff or plus or minus soft and curly or initially covered in cobwebby, woolly hair. Depending on the plant, there are one or more stems. The upright to ascending stem, which is loosely branched from the base or only in the upper area, is variably covered in cobwebby hair, for example. The leaves are alternate and arranged basally. The basal leaves are stalked and, at a length of up to 25 cm, are oblique-lanceolate or elliptical with a pointed upper end; their leaf surfaces are downy to coarsely hairy. The lower stem leaves are sessile and, at a length of 1 to 8 cm, ovate, linear to lanceolate, entire or distantly finely toothed, simple or rarely with some sections or sinuous-pinnately divided with a pointed upper end. The upper stem leaves are undivided to irregularly lobed at a length of 5 to 25 cm, with the uppermost ones being narrower and undivided. The stem leaves are very variably hairy, for example hairy with cobwebby, rough or glandular trichomes. There are few to several flower heads per stem. The flower heads, arranged individually above a leafy flower head shaft, are broadly ovate or disc-shaped. The flower head is hemispherical or broadly ovate to bell-shaped during anthesis and contains bracts arranged like roof tiles. The middle bracts are narrowly elliptical. The bracts have round, dry-skinned bract appendages at their upper end, which are clearly separated from the actual bract and do not run down the edge. The bract appendages are black-brown to whitish, entire-edged or slashed and fringed. The flower heads rarely contain 40, usually 60 to 100 (sometimes even more than 100) violet, pink to purple, rarely white tubular flowers, of which the ones at the edges are greatly enlarged and sterile. The light brown or gray achene is cylindrical, glabrous or finely to sparsely woolly haired and barely noticeable ribbed.

In the kitchen you can add the flowers of the knapweed as well as the leaves (which taste a bit more bitter) to a salad.

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