Common name: Black knapweed. Mínscoth.
This population originates from Co Down. Irish Grid reference: J496464.
Hardy perennial. Many flowers a fairly consistent bright mid purple on stalks up to 100cms tall. The flowers are thistle like but no prickles in sight as the leaves are soft.
Attractive and useful to insects, bees, hoverflies, butterflies. We’ve seen bees squabbling over these flowers. This plant will do just fine being left in an unmanaged meadow. If you manage the meadow, say a cut in December after seeding time, which is in early September. Lift the cuttings and knapweed will positively thrive. It will self seed in a moderate way because the birds feed so well off them.
Open meadows, rough ground, will tolerate moderate shade. Also looks well in a cottage garden in the middle of the bed in a stand together.
Sow March/April in a seed tray, prick out when large enough to handle. Plant out in May. Keep watered well They are fine to sow in autumn and overwinter in a cold frame. Mice like the seeds and will dig them out of your seed trays after sowing if they get the opportunity. You should get a few flowers in the first year. By the second year they’ll have reached maturity and full height and you’ll get hoardes of little birds feasting on the seeds, that’s once the bees and other pollinators have had their fill.
The flower heads were used as a love divination: Stripped of their purple florets and placed in the bosom, if the florets returned then love was true.
Avg contents: 100 seeds.