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Centaurea americana Nutt.
American Basket-flower, American Star-thistle, Basket-flower, Star Thistle, Shaving Brush, Basket Flower
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Symbol: CEAM2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
American basket-flower is a 1-1/2 to 6 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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: 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, Savannas
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , 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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: This is a showy, easily cultivated wildflower.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Direct seed from late summer through fall.
Seed Collection: Collect seed early summer.
Commercially Avail: yes
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From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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 0399 Collected Jun 1, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
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
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-645 Collected 2008-06-17 in Burnet County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 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
Bibref 1294 - 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
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Centaurea americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Centaurea americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Centaurea americana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-12-02
Research By: TWC Staff