Centaurea cyanus, aka cornflower, is an annual plant native to the temperature countries in Europe but is now grown in Australia and North America. It was an endangered flowering plant in its natural habitat owing to agricultural intensification but steps have been taken to cultivate the plant for its many uses, most notable the extract of its flowers. Cornflower used to grow as weeds in cornfields. It wasn’t exactly a crop grown for financial or dietary ends. The other name of the plant is bachelor's button.
Cornflower or Centaurea cyanus grows up to ninety centimeters and has grayish green stems. The stems are branched and the plant has lanceolate leaves growing up to four centimeters. The flower whose extract is used in natural skin care products is blue colored and measures up to three centimeters in diameter. The flower has a cluster of florets at the center, more like a disc. Then there is a ring of florets surrounding the cluster, almost like rays. The flower blossoms in summer. The flower is endangered in its natural settings across Europe due to the excessive use of herbicides. However, the flowering plant has found its way in private gardens and as a terrace, pot or ornamental plant. Dried extracts of cornflower are used in herbal teas. The cut flower industry invests significantly in cornflower, especially in Canada. Although the common and most prevalent color of the flowers is blue, as roses are red, there are other variants including pink, white, black and lavender. The flower is also called blue diadem or blue boy.
Centaurea cyanus is used in culinary decorations as it is an edible flower. The natural coloring is often used to make salads and other foods more enticing. The flower extract is used in various natural skin care products, primarily because of its anti inflammatory properties. The flower extract is an astringent and can condition the skin. The polyphenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids in the extract are all good for the skin and hair. While the extract is used in blushes, foundations, facial lotions and moisturizers, sunscreen lotions, eye shadows and creams, facial powders, mascara and different organic skin care products aimed at slowing down the signs of ageing, the products are not too reasonably priced because the extract is quite expensive. Given its endangered status in the natural habitat and limited cultivation, it is not a surprise why the flower and its extract would be steeply priced.