Bachelor’s Button flower is the informal name for a variety of plant species. These species include Gomphrena canescens, Gomphrena globosa, Centaurea cyanus, Centaurea montana, Kerria japonica ‘Plenifora’, and Ranuculus aconitifolius. Most of the aforementioned species are edible, and some are actively used for culinary purposes. Bachelor button flowers are quite popular among farmers and plant enthusiasts alike. In 2001, the Centaurea species was promoted by the National Garden Bureau, and the year 2001 was dedicated to it. This promotion certainly helped with the bachelor button’s popularity, especially in the U.S.A.
This flower is also commonly known as the cornflower as it can grow in wild cornfields. It is also known as Basket Flower, Blue Bottle, Blue Bow, Blue Bonnet, Blue Cap, Hurt Sickle, and Boutonniere Flower. Just like the names, the uses of bachelor button flowers are plenty. Certain species are used as spices, garnish, or to aromatize dishes in the culinary world. Most of the species, however, are used for decorative purposes wherein their flowers are dried and arranged.
Bachelor button flowers of various species can easily be found all over the world. They are not that hard to get, and thus, not so expensive. Moreover, they can also be homegrown quite easily. They are considered tough flowers that are compatible with most soil types. The ideal time for them to bloom is in the summers through early fall. Of course, it is far cheaper to buy them from a decent florist.
In the following section, we have outlined various characteristics and elaborated on the details of the six popular bachelor’s button species. On the basis of the information provided below, you can choose which species suits you the best.
Types of Bachelor Button Flowers
The six species of bachelor button flowers mentioned in this section are the most popular and well-known ones. Each species has different characteristics and traits. Some are best suited for culinary use, and some for decorative purposes. Below are the details of the six popular species of plants whose flowers are often referred to as bachelor button flowers.
1: Centaurea Cyanus: The name ‘Centaurea’ originates from Greek mythology. Centaurs were creatures described in Greek mythology as half-human and half-horse. They were a breed of warriors, and the literature about their fiery nature and warlike mannerisms is plentiful. As the story goes, a centaur named ‘Chiron’ was injured in battle and stumbled upon this flower. He used this flower to heal the wounds sustained in battle. It is said that he passed on the knowledge of this flower’s healing abilities to human beings. The myth about the origins of this flower may not be true, however, its medicinal value has been scientifically proven.
Centaurea cyanus is used in herbal medicine due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The plant also has gastroprotective effects that help in countering gastric mucosal damage. The flower of Centaurea cyanus has quite a lot of pharmacological purposes.
In the culinary world, the flower of Centaurea cyanus is used as a spice as well as to garnish certain dishes and aromatize them. The taste of Centaurea cyanus is described as sweet and spicy. It has a mild aroma quite similar to that of peppery clove. The flowers are best used fresh in all dishes. They can also be eaten raw. In the food industry, the pigment of Centaurea cyanus is used as a natural additive in a diversity of products.
The flowers of Centaurea cyanus have pointy petals. These flowers come in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, pink, and peacock blue. Each color has its own symbolic significance which will be discussed later in the article. This particular species is native to Europe and has great cultural and symbolic value in various European nations.
2: Centaurea Montana: This particular species is also native to Europe. In fact, it is endemic to Europe, meaning that its natural habitat is limited to the continent. Commonly found in the southern mountain ranges of Europe, it is a popular plant that can be found in many European gardens. This plant is also found in northern parts of Europe, however, it’s quite rare. Unlike its close cousin the Centaurea cyanus, it usually has a single flower head. Its name comes from Latin as ‘montana’ means mountain in that language.
In order to grow Centaurea montana, soil types such as light sand and heavy clay are ideal. Similar to other bachelor’s button flowers, this species is also quite tough and can be grown easily. However, it should be noted that Centaurea montana is inedible and should not be confused with Centaurea cyanus. It does have many medicinal properties though and is quite popular as a medicine in Central Europe. This plant’s dried flowers can be used to treat bleeding gums, dropsy, and even constipation. It has also been shown useful in treating conjunctivitis. The main use of its flowers, however, is purely ornamental. It is used to decorate the indoors as well as the outdoors.
3: Gomphrena Canescens: The Gomphrena canescens plant is native to Australia. It does not have any wooden stem above ground. In other words, it’s a herbaceous plant. It can grow up to 0.9 meters tall, and its flowers are pink in color. These flowers are also called bachelor button flowers and are primarily used for decorative purposes. Like all other bachelor button plants, it can also grow in harsh and unfavorable conditions. There’s a reason why bachelor button flowers are known for their toughness and beauty. In Australia, it’s found in woodlands, rocky slopes, and even coastal areas. The bloom occurs between February and September.
4: Gomphrena Globosa: This variant of the bachelor button flower plant is as popular as Centaurea cyanus. This tropical plant is native to Central America. Like most tropical plants, its flowers come in a variety of beautiful shades such as magenta, pink, white, lilac, orange, purple, and red. This species also blooms throughout the summer like most bachelor button flowers. However, it doesn’t grow as tall as Gomphrena canescens as the maximum height it can reach is 24 inches.
This plant also goes by the names – amaranth, makhmali, and vadamalli. It is edible like the Centaurea cyanus and is pretty popular in Hawaii. There, it is used to make garlands and leis. The popular depictions of holidays in Hawaii often portray visitors being welcomed with garlands and leis. This is the flower with which those garlands and leis are made. Apart from Hawaii, the flowers of this plant are pretty popular in Nepal too.
Gomphrena globosa also plays a crucial role in native medicine systems. For instance, in Trinidad, the plant is used to make tea that is used in the treatment of cough and diabetes. It has also proven useful in treating respiratory inflammation conditions such as bronchial asthma, whooping cough, and bronchitis. Of all the bachelor button flower plants, this particular species has the most medicinal properties.
The pigments from its flowers are also used for food coloring purposes.
5: Kerria Japonica ‘Plenifora’: The flower of Kerria japonica ‘plenifora’ is also known as the Japanese Rose. It’s golden yellow in color and blooms throughout the spring season. Native to East Asia, Kerria japonica is a deciduous shrub named after William Kerr. He brought the cultivar ‘plenifora’ to the region. This particular species can grow up to 3 meters. It is usually found on mountain slopes. In East Asia, when one refers to the bachelor button flower, this is the plant species that is usually referred to.
6: Ranuculus Aconitifolius: This species is also known as the aconite-leaf buttercup. It is native to Central Europe and is an herbaceous perennial. Found in mountains, meadows, and near streams, this plant produces beautiful white flowers. The name aconite-leaf buttercup is due to its resemblance to the flowers of the aconite genus.
What Do Bachelor Button Flowers Symbolize?
Bachelor button flowers symbolize love, the passion of youth, and healing. These flowers were particularly popular among the youth across cultures at various points in time. Due to their ability to survive in rough conditions, these flowers have also come to symbolize perseverance.
The blue-colored bachelor button flower was especially coveted by many due to the cultural significance attached to it. Blue bachelor button flowers were considered superior to other shades and reminiscent of lost love. The color blue symbolized grief and unreturned love. Although, in many cultures, blue bachelor button flowers were also used on happy occasions. However, the blue variants of the bachelor button flowers are still used to honor the dead in funerals. The bachelor button flower meaning that was concretized by blue variants is still relevant in many cultures.
In politics, bachelor button flowers also become quite important. The blue Centaurea cyanus was a national symbol of Germany. In various European countries, the blue cornflower is a symbol for rightist ideologies. It also has a special place in the German romanticism movement in arts.
What Do Various Colors of the Bachelor Button Flowers Mean?
Various colors of bachelor button flowers have various symbolic meanings. Below is a list of symbolic meanings of the most popular shades:
Red – The red bachelor button flowers symbolize passion, love, and fierce youth. This shade is quite popular among young people and is often used as a romantic gift.
White – The white bachelor button flower symbolizes peace and calmness. It also represents purity.
Pink – Pink is universally considered a symbol of feminine energy. Pink bachelor button flowers also symbolize feminine power and make for a perfect gift on women’s day!
Black – Black bachelor button flower petals are quite rare and do not have an agreed-upon cultural meaning. In some cultures, black is considered a color of mourning. However, in the fashion industry, black is the ‘in’ color. Thus, black bachelor button flowers are very popular among those who like to keep up with the times.
Blue – This is perhaps the shade that is the most loaded with cultural and symbolic meanings. Blue bachelor button flowers can symbolize grief as well as unreturned love.
Purple – The purple bachelor button flower symbolizes royalty. It is also one of the most aesthetic shades of them all.
Golden Yellow – The golden yellow bachelor button flower is produced by the Kerria japonica plant. It is considered one of the most beautiful flowers native to East Asia. Yellow bachelor button flowers symbolize friendship and joy.
This is not an exhaustive list of the various shades of bachelor button flowers. There are a lot of meanings attached to a variety of bachelor button flowers across cultures.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Bachelor Button Flowers
Bachelor button flowers were first discovered in the tomb of King Tutankhamen. His death occurred in 1340 B.C. Thus, these flowers had great cultural value even then. Even today, these flowers are used to honor the dead. The specific species that was discovered in the tomb was Centaurea cyanus.
As mentioned before, the bachelor’s button flower is an umbrella term that encompasses a large variety of plant species. The interesting thing, however, is that this name was derived from a very popular cultural practice. Bachelors would wear these flowers on their buttons to signal their availability to the ladies. In some cultures, there was superstition around the same practice. If the flower faded too quickly, the bachelor’s love would be considered unreturned. However, in reality, the flowers faded quickly because they were not plucked early in the morning.
Best Time to Gift Bachelor Button Flowers
Flowers make for amazing gifts on most occasions. The trick is to put some thought in while picking the flowers. Shades and patterns on flowers can have deep cultural and symbolic meanings. If you’re picking out a gift for someone who is acquainted with flowers and enjoys them, it’s a good idea to get bachelor button flowers. You can pick a variety of colors and arrange them in a beautiful way. Bachelor button flowers are tough and do not dry that easily. Thus, they last longer than other delicate flowers. Their toughness and aesthetics make them a great gift when it comes to flowers.
All in all, bachelor button flowers make for amazing gifts and have great symbolic value. They are not too expensive and also quite easy to grow.