Meeting these amazing flowers is one of the most vivid childhood memories. July, a bottomless blue sky, ripening rye rustling under a light breeze, and on the edge of the field stand alone or in groups of blue cornflowers. They seem to specifically show their beauty, exposing it to the public.
And they suffer, of course, from this, because soon everyone has a bright bouquet in their hands, and the girls decorate their hair with natural wreaths-crowns.
And although the peasants consider cornflowers to be weeds that pollute the crops, and after threshing the grain they add their seeds to the general harvest, they cannot help but appreciate the beauty of this plant.
And in a rare hut you will not see a bouquet of cornflowers standing in a glass jar at the time of flowering. And the people also appreciate plants for its medicinal properties.
Cornflower blue (Centaurea cyanus) – annual plant, belonging to the Astrov family. This flower, beloved by Russians, has received many other names in different localities - hair, seven-flowered, rye patchwork, cyanosis and others. It is not by chance that the blue cornflower was named rye patchwork. It was in the crops of rye that one could most often see it blooming.
And now it is quite possible to grow this plant in flower arrangements on flower beds - cornflower looks especially good next to calendula, poppy seeds, space. They begin to bloom at about the same time, and the combination of their colors is very effective. Cornflowers are often grown in single compositions in small containers that decorate residential areas, and even in boxes on balconies.
This plant is sown with seeds in May. Cornflower is unpretentious, but it is better to develop and bloom on fertile, light soil with neutral acidity. Before blooming, it is advisable to feed the plants so that the flowering is more effective and long-lasting.
If you decide to grow cornflowers with seedlings, then you need to remember that this plant has a long taproot, and therefore does not tolerate transplanting well. In this case, it is advisable to grow cornflowers in peat pots with nutritious soil, and then immediately plant them together with the pots in balcony boxes or on flower beds.
The flowers of the cornflower are blue or blue, rarely white. They are collected in single baskets, the marginal flowers are lighter in color, funnel-shaped. They are asexual - they do not have stamens and pistils. Their main task is to attract insects to more modest outwardly flowers in the middle of the basket - they are purple in color, with a pistil and five stamens.
In folk medicine, blue cornflower flowers have long been used for medicinal purposes. They are used in herbal collections and in official medicine. It is the edge, funnel-shaped flowers that are collected as medicinal raw materials. Scientific studies have shown that they contain glycosides, a dye - cyanine and other substances.
Attention! The presence of cyanine in cornflower flowers makes this plant poisonous. Therefore, you need to strictly adhere to the dosage when using it for medicinal purposes!
For what medicinal purposes is harvested cornflower raw material (dried edge flowers) used? Preparations from it and with it provide choleretic, diuretic, mild laxative, antipyretic, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-febrile, antimicrobial, analgesic and wound healing effect... They are filming spasms of smooth muscles of internal organs, stimulate appetite and improve digestion.
Infusion of blue cornflower prepare as follows: 1 tablespoon of raw materials (cornflower flowers) is placed in an enamel bowl and 200 ml of hot water is poured, covered with a lid and heated in boiling water (in a water bath) for 15 minutes. Then cooled at room temperature for 45 minutes, filtered.
The remaining raw materials are squeezed out. The volume of the resulting infusion is brought to 200 ml with boiled water. The prepared infusion is stored in a cool place for no more than two days.
Is taken orally in a warm form, 1 tablespoon three times a day as light diuretic, choleretic and antimicrobial agent.
But with diseases of the urinary tract and kidney is consumed another infusion with cornflowers... It serves as a diuretic. To obtain it, you need to take 15 g of cornflower flowers, 15 g of juniper berries, 45 g of bearberry leaves and mix. Then you need 1 tablespoon of this mixture, pour 200 g of boiling water and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Then strain. In case of illness, this infusion should be taken 1 tablespoon 3-4 times a day.
Another type of cornflower also has healing properties - cornflower meadow (Centaurea jacea)... It has a light pink color and a larger basket size.
As noted above, the cornflower flowers contain cyan components, therefore, folk preparations based on it cannot be used during pregnancy and when feeding a child. And it will never be superfluous to consult your doctor on the use of certain drugs, especially drugs that contain, albeit a small amount of toxic substances.
Photo by Natalia Butyagina
The genus belongs to the group of herbaceous one- and perennial rhizome plants and types with taproots. Botanists have more than 500 species of cornflowers, among which there are drought-resistant and moisture-loving ones. Plant height ranges from 30 to 120 cm. By the type of root system, cornflowers are divided into 2 groups, which are distinguished by the formation of the aboveground mass and the peculiarity of the root system.
1 - plants with a short, often vertical rhizome (annuals) or taproot. They do not reproduce vegetatively. Form a dense bush, slowly increasing in annual growth. These include Russian cornflowers, whitewashed, meadow, large-headed, Marshall and others.
2 - plants with horizontal rhizome and root suckers. They have an increased ability for vegetative reproduction. During the growing season, a large aboveground mass is formed. They literally form thickets. Their group includes soft, mountain, Fischer cornflowers. In some types, the taproot goes to the same depth. The rhizome with roots forms a rather powerful system that provides the plants with sufficient moisture during the dry summer period.
Stems are straight, recumbent, ascending, branched, smooth, completely or partially woolly pubescent in the upper part of the shoots. The basal leaves of perennials have a seasonal feature that keeps the plants decorative all year round. Spring basal leaves live until August and begin to die off during flowering. Autumn petiole leaves grow in September-October. They remain under the snow, fallen leaves until spring.
The leaves are petiolate, green, smooth or tomentose. Their leaf blade is tripartite or pinnately dissected, less often whole. Stem leaves sessile petiolate. The leaf blade is solid, linear, lanceolate, but it can also be pinnately dissected, usually whole-edged.
Single, basket-shaped inflorescences about 3-8 cm in diameter, located on leafless peduncles at the ends of the stems. Baskets are often collected in paniculate or corymbose inflorescences. The inflorescence wrapper is similar to the hemisphere, covered with several rows of triangular, medium-sized leaves (like tiles), green and slightly sticky. The marginal flowers in inflorescences are asexual, large, bright blue (there are other colors of blue shades), red-orange, pink, purple, white. Corolla of marginal flowers 2 cm long, funnel-shaped with incised petals. Medium flowers are bisexual, smaller. Corolla up to 1 cm, tubular-five-toothed, purple or other shades.
Long bloom - from May to September, most abundant in July. Fruits in the form of achenes, shiny or pubescent, gray, oblong-ovate with a multi-row tuft at the top. The bristly hairs of the tuft are reddish, purple, break off easily.
Currently, breeders have obtained many varieties of a wide range of colors. Especially popular are hybrids, including double ones, obtained on the basis of the mountain cornflower (C. montana). Faded shoots are cut off so as not to reduce the decorative effect of plants. If necessary, leave several bushes or shoots for seed propagation. Annual representatives of cornflowers grow until late autumn and resume growth only through seed reproduction.
Home page »Medicinal magic of juniper
On the territory of the northern hemisphere, an amazing species of conifers - the common juniper - is found everywhere in the forests. Its unique fruits, cone-berries, when ripe, acquire a rich blue hue and are covered with a bluish bloom. For the fruit to fully ripen, more than two years must pass. On one plant, you can find both green and already ripe fruits.
The average plant height is 3-5 meters, specimens reaching 12 meters are rare. Growing up, they acquire a cylindrical shape, characteristic of the Cypress family.
A juniper can grow for a very long time - there are specimens that are up to 600 years old.
People did not ignore this unusual plant and in the process of getting to know it, they began to endow it with magical properties. Mainly due to its bactericidal properties and high content of phytoncides. The people of the Middle Ages did not know anything about microbes and bacteria, but they noticed that fumigating a room with juniper branches, a bath with a broom from it and washing floors with a decoction of pine needles had a positive effect on human health.
Northern cypress (another name for juniper) was used to sterilize barrels before harvesting cucumbers. Endowing its branches with mystical properties, they kept them behind icons and consecrated them in the temple. Endow it with the ability to protect people and livestock from the evil eye and evil spirits. Its healing properties have long been appreciated by our ancestors - he became not only a healer, but also a participant in the legends of Ancient Greece and a Slavic amulet.
Wood has not received wide industrial use, despite the fact that it is very durable and beautiful. Canes, souvenirs, toys and jewelry are made from it.
But the cone-berry is rich in organic acids, essential oils and sugars. It is often used in the food industry. The fruits are infused with vodka and gin. They are ideal for cooking game and other meats. Complement the taste of red cabbage and beets. Needles and fruits are used for smoking. Since ancient times, people have added fruits to gingerbread, confectionery and fruit drinks. Sugar is obtained from them, as well as beer and wine are brewed. In ancient times, a yellow dye was obtained from cones for dyeing fabrics.
The garden cornflower is used not only as an ornamental plant. It is also interesting for its medicinal properties. The honey from this plant has a beneficial effect on the stomach, intestines, kidneys and the immune system.
The leaves of the flower are used as a seasoning for meat and first courses. The plant has a spicy-sweet taste that combines lemon acidity, mint freshness and clove bitterness.
The beneficial properties of inflorescences are actively used in cosmetology in the production of masks, face creams and washing liquids. Such funds cleanse and rejuvenate the skin well, are prophylactic for spider veins and acne.
Alternative medicine uses decoctions of stems and inflorescences as a diuretic, bile-excreting and expectorant. Petals are part of the pharmacy gastric preparations.
Due to the fact that there are cyan components in the chemical composition of the flower, it is contraindicated to take decoctions of this plant for uterine bleeding and painful menstruation, during pregnancy and lactation.
If it is necessary to use it for the treatment of other diseases, the medicine should be used in moderation, taking breaks, according to the doctor's instructions.
Now it has become fashionable to cultivate meadow flowers in the country and in the personal plot. Meadow grasses can bloom magnificently until November. Greenery looks beautiful in combination with bells, daisies, cornflowers, poppies, clover and other flowers. A colorful composition can be created from verbena, meadowsweet, phlox. A flower carpet not only decorates the area in front of the house, but can also be beneficial due to the healing properties of plants.
Ornamental grasses (cereals, sedges) can decorate any garden, thanks to the beautiful narrow leaves, graceful stems and inflorescences. They not only form the basis of lawns, but also create a feeling of airiness among other plants in the flower garden. Ornamental grasses can be grown by seeds sown in the ground. Most often on the plots there are reed moth, Chinese miscanthus, pampas grass, viviparous oats, blue fescue, reed grass, feather grass.
It is unpretentious, resistant to cold and drought. Even with wilting, or complete death of stems and leaves from lack of moisture, the plant revives after watering and grows new shoots thanks to its powerful root system.
Any site is suitable for planting it, since it is not very whimsical in lighting. It grows both in the shade and in the sun. Most often it is planted in a slightly shaded area. Place it on the site, taking into account the height of future plants, so that they do not create shade for other planted crops.
The soil prefers light, fertile, moderately moist. Does not tolerate excessive watering and stagnation of water, leading to root rot. It is regularly watered in moderation during the season.
Propagated by seeds and dividing the bushes.
Seeds are sown in open ground in early spring, or seedlings are grown from them. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 3 ° C, although for a rather long time, but at 18 ° C and above, seedlings appear within a week and a half. They are developing rapidly. They are thinned out, leaving them after 50-60cm from each other with a row spacing of 70cm.
Large bushes are separated in the spring. Plants planted at this time take root well. Place them 70cm apart.
Multiply lovage and cuttings, cutting them from strong shoots. Cuttings with a pair of leaves are rooted in wet sand. They quickly grow roots and are planted in a permanent place.
Plant care is the same as for other perennial vegetables. They are watered, fed, loosened and weeds removed.
It grows in one place for 5-7 years.
In fact, caring for blue cornflower and other annual species comes down to timely weeding and light loosening of the soil, which must be carried out for young plants. By resorting to the soil mulching method, you can save yourself the need to carry out even minimal procedures for these annuals. The only thing that is definitely worth taking care of is oh timely cutting of faded shootswhich will stimulate longer and more massive flowering.
Most cornflowers are drought-resistant plants, in particular the most popular blue cornflower does an excellent job even with long periods of complete drying out of the soil.At the same time, some more rare annual cornflowers, for example, soft and meadow cornflowers, do not like droughts and for them it is necessary to maintain at least a slight soil moisture. Since June, when the abundant flowering of the blue cornflower starts, during especially long droughts, maintenance watering can be carried out to preserve the number of flowers, but even at this time they are not at all a mandatory procedure.
If you have planted cornflowers in fertile soil, then there will be no need for feeding. For cornflowers, an excess of nutrients in the soil is no less dangerous than their lack. If you wish, you can add additional fertilizing at the very beginning of flowering, using half the standard dose of complete mineral fertilizers, but you should not do systemic fertilizing even when you grow annual cornflowers for the sake of cutting. If the flowering deteriorates sharply and the number of flowers decreases, the second wave is delayed, you can repeat the non-concentrated top dressing for additional stimulation, but usually, for almost continuous colorful flowering, it is enough to remove the wilting peduncles in a timely manner.
Cornflowers bloom throughout the summer and before the arrival of the autumn cold, but even with prolonged rains they are not susceptible to diseases and are not sensitive to pests. They can only suffer from fusarium, and even then only if grown in annual beds in the company of heavily infected plants.