Lesser Knapweed (centaurea nigra)

Lesser Knapweed

Lesser Knapweed


Lesser Knapweed (also known as Common Knapweed) is a very pretty meadow wildflower. It is also known as Hardheads, Black Knapweed, Hors Knots, Tassle and Bull Weed, among others. It flowers early to late summer, and grows to around 70 cm high.

Where to find Lesser Knapweed

Lesser Knapweed is found in meadows, roadsides and grasslands

RHS Plants for Pollinators

Wildlife Value of Lesser Knapweed

Lesser Knapweed is a magnificent plant for insects! It attracts hoverflies, honey bees and bumblebees, and is also is a favourite of many butterfly species including meadow brown, ringlet and small tortoiseshell, which all feed from its nectar. In a meadow, its hardy stems provide support for more sprawling wildflower species. Its seeds are popular with goldfinches and the many insects the plant attracts makes it popular with other bird species such as robins, warblers and wrens.

Butterflies and moths love Lesser Knapweed too – particularly Tortoiseshell and Painted Ladies, Comma, Silver Washed Fritillary, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Chalkhill Blue and Adonis Blue, Brimstone, Satyr Pug, Silver Y  and Lime Speck Pug moths.

Folklore Associated with Lesser Knapweed

If a maiden picks a flower, removes the expanded florets and places the flowerhead inside her blouse for an hour, and if the unexpanded florets have blossomed when the plant is removed, then she will soon see the man she is to marry.

Herbal Uses of Lesser Knapweed

*This info is provided for reference only and is in no way a  prescription for use.  Please seek the advice of a qualified herbalist before using*

Lesser Knapweed root can be made into an ointment to treat cuts and bruises.

How to Sow Lesser Knapweed Seeds

Lesser Knapweed is best sown in autumn or spring. You can sow direct onto a bare patch of soil in sunny spot. Press the seeds gently into the soil after sowing, no need to rake them over and cover with more soil. The seeds can also been sown in trays in the same way. When you have small seedlings, gently ease them out and grow on in small pots until ready to plant out in the garden.

Buy Wildflower Seeds!

Visit Wildflower Favours to buy UK-grown, wildflower mixes. All of our wildflower seeds are UK species only and are available in recycled seed packets. The seeds are in paper sachets inside the packets, not plastic and foil sachets. Seed packets can be branded for business too.

Grow wildflowers to attract birds seed packet
PCI Validated PCI Validated

© 2020-2024 Wildflower Favours

Web design by BDesigns

We use Trusted Shops as an independent service provider for collecting reviews. Trusted Shops has taken reasonable and proportionate steps to ensure that these are genuine reviews. More information

Join our mailing list

Want to know more about wildflowers, nature and what’s happening on our patch of Earth at Wildflower Favours?  Then sign up for our newsletter!  We won’t bombard your inbox, just some musings now and again or to let you know when we have a new blog post or offers.