The humble cornflower—thus called because it often grew as a weed in English grain fields (which they called corn fields)—has a rich history in folklore, folk medicine, and even politics. It was sometimes called a “Batchelor’s Button” because young men in love might wear them on their lapels. Alas, if the blossom faded too quickly, it meant that the young man’s love was not to be returned. The wildflower was found throughout Europe though it has now been introduced to North America and Australia.
Herbalists make a beverage from the petals and Twinings uses the blossom in its Lady Grey tea. The plant is also steeped and distilled to make an eyewash (for conjunctivitis) or an alcohol-free astringent.
The cornflower is the national flower of Estonia and it is used as a symbol of several liberal political parties throughout the Baltic. In Germany and Austria, however, it is more-associated with right wing groups (and is worn in the annual Steuben Day parade in New York City). It is also used as a symbol for ALS awareness.
The cornflower is normally found in a vibrant, medium blue, though variations exist—both in the wild and in cultivated varieties. Unfortunately, the plant is now on the brink of extinction in its natural habitat. It has become a popular, cultivated garden plant, however, and is grown from widely-available seeds or seedlings.
The card above, printed in England, shows the cornflower in some of its color variations. Come into the shop to purchase the card in-person and see the full collection of our newly-received Spring floral cards.