|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This flower is not a thistle but knapweed . It is not evident here that it is also attractive to butterflies and later on when seed is available to goldfinches. |
Many plants known as weeds are of tremendous food value for birds. Burdock, chickweed, cow parsley, clover, dandelion, groundsel, black medick, greater stitchwort, hogweed, fat hen, knapweed, shepherd's purse, plantains (e.g. ribwort and hoary plantain), stinging nettles, teasel and many types of thistles such as spear thistle and woolly thistle will all provide seeds for birds to eat. Goldfinches will eat the seeds of dandelions, groundsel, knapweed and fuller's teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) as well as thistles (Cirsium sp. and Carduus sp.). They use their sharp conical bill to extract awkward seeds which other birds cannot access. They will also take insects and their larvae.
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Here is some more info: KNAPWEEDS, CORNFLOWER et al;
Centaurea is the largest genus of the eastern Mediterranean area, where most weeds originated (1).
Centaurus is the classical name of a plant fabled by Ovid to have cured a wound in the foot of Chiron, one of the Centaurs of Thessaly. Hence the name! Centaurea includes the cornflowers, knapweeds, and starthistles.
They are enduring weeds, possessing ristly seeds that enable them to thrive in such averse areas as abandoned city lots, highways, and swamps. Starthistles and knapweeds are among the most notorious members of this genus. Perhaps the best-known knapweed is Russian knapweed (C. repens L. ), with knoblike heads of purple flowers.
The "knap" in knapweed is derived from the Anglo Saxon word cnaep for top, knob, or button (2).
A common name for cornflower (C. cyanus ) is bachelor button, which was grown extensively in English gardens as a home remedy for inflammation of the eyes and for jaundice.
0. Haughton, C. S. 1978. Green Immigrants. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York.
1. King, L. J. 1966. Weeds of the World-Biology and Control. Interscience Pub., Inc., New York, NY.
2. Jaeger, E. C. 1947.(2nd ed). A Source-book of Biological Names and Terms. Charles C. Thomas, Pub., Springfield, IL.
MORE at: (1); (2); (3) and (4).
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