Species of the Month - August 2017

Each month we feature a picture of a species to be found on The Commons. Wherever possible, all species featured have been photographed here. This month, we are featuring Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

Whilst looking very like a thistle this flower is a member of the daisy family. It is an excellent source of nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects.

 Also known as hard heads, the name knap is for the knob like bud before the flowers open, and nigra for the black patterning on the bud. The centaureau has probably come from the Greek myth that Chiron the wisest centaur used the plants to heal wounds. Our own folk lore says that the flowers can foretell a maiden’s future. If she puts the unopened florets in her blouse, and after an hour these florets have blossomed it means that she will soon meet the man of her dreams.

This month we have two for the price of one. The insect on the flower in the lower picture is the male Swollen Thigh beetle (Oedemera nobilis), also known as the False Oil beetle. It feeds on open flower heads.

More pictures and information can be found at the Wildlife Trusts  and Buglife websites.

Click here to see other Species of the Month, or here for last year's Plants of the Month.