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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Centaurea americana (American basket-flower)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Centaurea americana

Centaurea americana Nutt.

American basket-flower, American star-thistle, Basket-Flower, Star thistle, Shaving brush

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: CEAM2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

American basket-flower is a 1 1/2-5 ft. annual with a stout, leafy, much-branched stem and lavender-pink, filamentous flower heads with cream-colored centers. The flower heads are 4-5 in. wide and are subtended by fringed bracts. The plant looks similar to the thistles but lacks their prickly characteristics

The name basket flower refers to the stiff, straw-colored bracts just beneath the flower head, which are divided at the tip into long, sharp teeth.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AR , AZ , IA , IL , KS , MO , NM , NY , OK , RI , SC , TX , WI
Native Distribution: S.w. MO & e. KS, s. to LA, e. AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Woodlands edge, Opening, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Dry to mesic soils. Sandy Loam, Clay Loam, Medium Loam.
Conditions Comments: Has a sweet, honey fragrance and makes brilliant cut flowers. The plant resembles the thistles but lacks their prickly characteristics. This is a showy, easily cultivated wildflower.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: This is a showy, easily cultivated wildflower.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Direct seed from late summer through fall.
Seed Collection: Collect seed early summer.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0016 Collected May 17, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
NPSOT 0055 Collected May 18, 1990 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0399 Collected Jun 1, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-645 Collected 2008-06-17 in Burnet County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Centaurea americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Centaurea americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Centaurea americana

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-07-16
Research By: TWC Staff

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