Cornflower is a lasting and radiant blue flower that is an excellent choice to grow in an herbal garden. Its proper name is Centaura cyanus. It is a Latin name that refers to two different Greek myths regarding this plant. The first name, Centaura, refers to a centaur, Chiron. In Greek mythology, he is a prominent herbalist. According to one particular legend, Chiron was hit in the heel with an arrow that had been immersed in a lethal Hydra poison. Hercules was the perpetrator behind it. The wound would have been serious. Fortunately, Chiron applied cornflower and it cured his wound.
The second name, cyanus, indicates the radiant blue color of the cornflower. The name was given to pay tribute to Cyanus, who was a good-looking youth from the Greek mythology. Cyanus adored and admired the blue color. He prefers to put on blue clothes and would cover himself with cornflowers. When he was found dead in a cornfield by the goddess Flora, she magically transformed him into a cornflower. Aside from its Latin names, cornflower is also called differently in Russia. It is called Basil’s flower or basilek. According to the teachings and beliefs of Russians, a young gentleman named Basil was enticed by a lovely fairy to come into the cornfield. Then, to his surprise, she miraculously changed him into a cornflower.
Cornflower also has several common names. It is usually called blue bottle, knapweed, star thistle, and bachelor’s button. Sometimes, it has also been called blunt-sickle or hurt-sickle. It has been called such names because it would dull the sharp edges of a harvester’s blade as they gathered the corn. The names and history behind cornflower simply make it an interesting flower. Its other names are as appealing as the beauty it adds to any garden.