Knapweed (the Lesser)

Black Knapweed, the Centaurea nigra, is a common tough-stemmed

composite weed growing in our meadows and cornfields, being

well known by its heads of dull purple flowers, with brown,

or almost black scales of the outer floral encasement. It is popularly

called Hard heads, Loggerheads, Iron heads, Horse knob, and Bull


Dr. Withering relates that a decoction made from these hard heads

fforded at least a temporary relief in cases of diabetes mellitus,

by diminishing the quantity of urine, and dispelling the sweetness.

Its chief chemical constituent enicin, is identical with that of the

Blessed thistle, and the Blue bottle, and closely resembles that of the

Dandelion. It has been found useful in strengthless indigestion,

especially when this is complicated with sluggish torpor of the liver.

From half to one ounce of the herb may be boiled in eight fluid

ounces of water, and a small wineglassful be taken for a dose twice

or three times a day. In Bucks young women make use of this

Knapweed for love divination:--

They pull the little blossom threads

From out the Knotweed's button beads,

And put the husk with many a smile

In their white bosoms for a while;

Then, if they guess aright, the swain

Their love's sweet fancies try to gain,

'Tis said that ere it lies an hour

'Twill blossom with a second flower.