Greater knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)
The greater knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa) is a plant species belonging to the family of composite flowers (Asteraceae). This wild perennial meadow plant survives the winter as a hemicryptophyte with the help of its beet-like tap root.
In spring, vegetative root shoots can also be formed from it. The self-sterile flowers are exclusively pollinated by insects. The plant can reach growth heights of up to 120 cm. The stem is angular and branched, with rough pinnate leaves. The purple flowers stand together in a head up to 4 cm wide.
Peripheral flowers are often much larger than the central ones. The bracts have blackish fringed appendages at their edges, which are an important distinguishing feature in this group with several subspecies.
Occurrence of greater knapweed
The greater knapweed flowers are lime-loving. All species, whether in the lowlands or higher altitudes, prefer dry locations.
Effect of of greater knapweed
The feed value for farm animals is moderate. However, it is an indispensable food plant for various butterfly species and their caterpillars. Its flowers are exclusively pollinated by insects and are also important as bee pasture.
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