Maroon Cornflower - Black Gem (Centaurea cyanus)
This dramatic burgundy annual cornflower grows to at least 90cm. The plants have an upright habit with long grey/green leaves and produce tall dark maroon double flowers.
The flowers of Centaurea cyanus can be eaten raw, dried or cooked. Dried petals are used in teas and spices. Their main purpose is to add colour to the drinks or foods. There are cheeses or oils that contain raw petals. Petals can also be added to salads, drinks or desserts for garnishing purposes in raw or dried form.
Extracts from the flower heads have anti-inflammatory properties used in the treatment of minor ocular inflammations. Furthermore, extracts of the flower head and vegetative parts of the plant were shown to have gastroprotective effects.