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

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.

RHS Plants for Pollinators

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 sheet is provided for information 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.

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