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Daisy family – Asteraceae (formally Compositae)
Knapweed is also known as Black or Lesser Knapweed. The word ‘knap’ means ‘knob’ – ‘knobweed’. The scientific name probably derives from Greek mythology in which the centaur (half man-half horse) Chiron was said to have used the plant for its healing powers. The purple-magenta flowers project, thistle-like, from a flower head that resembles a small bristly pineapple and gives the plant its alternative name of Hardhead. The plants where once used as a poultice on wounds and has been also used in traditional fabric dyeing. Despite its purple flower, yellow is the most typical colour of dye that it produces.
Knapweed is a perennial herb that reproduces by seeds and by regrowing each year from a woody root crown. It has dull green leaves, which are entirely covered with small, rough hairs. The leaves are very variable. In a mature plant, the lower leaves are lobed, whilst the upper ones are narrow and generally without lobes. The Knapweed produces flowers from June to September. The solitary seedheads occur at the ends of the upper branches.
Pentax K10D 18-55mm lens 13 Aug 2009.