November 20, 2017

Splendidly Shaggy

Centaurea macrocephala - Globe centaurea or Armenian basket flower

Janine Pineo Photo | Centaurea macrocephala – Globe centaurea or Armenian basket flower

If you’re looking for a burst of sunshine in the garden, look no farther than Centaurea macrocephala, a sunny, shaggy, thistle-like bloom that is a relative of the bachelor button. Originating in the Caucasus and hardy to Zone 3, the plant is a bit coarse in stem and leaf, forming clumps and growing up to 4 feet tall. It likes full sun and can handle dry conditions and tolerate drought. Also known as Globe centaurea, Armenian basket flower and yellow hardhat, this perennial is good as a cut flower and a dried flower, giving the best of both worlds. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson was sent seeds of this plant in 1812 by Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon. It was recorded that the plant was introduced in Britain in 1805. Interesting is the bud of globe centaurea, which is a chestnut brown, very much the opposite of what one might expect before the flower has even blossomed.