Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #59 Lesser or Black Knapweed

Bradlaugh Fields, Northampton - Centaurea nigra

At this time of year the Hills and Hollows are a golden sea of dry grass with flecks of colourful flowers. Here, in a view towards Spinney Hill, are two vigorous plants of Lesser Knapweed nearly 3 feet high. From a distance looking very like its cousins the Thistles, with purple tufts of flowers which are attractive to bees and butterflies. Seen up close however, the tough leaves and stems look quite different – no prickles for one thing! Tough as they may be, still some creatures manage to make use of them for food. As with Thistles, the ripe seeds are good for seed-eating birds like Goldfinches.


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