One of the flowers that is blooming around the reserve at the moment is black knapweed (Centaurea nigra), often referred to as common knapweed.
It is easily confused with types of thistle, due to the similar looks, but this one isn’t prickly. The leaves aren’t as stiff or spiky as a thistle, but are still hairy. The bright pinky purple flowers sit atop an almost black bract, giving black knapweed its name.
This is a great flower for bees, butterflies and hoverflies. It provides a good source of nectar late in the season after other flowers have finished blooming. It also adds a splash of colour to a garden border, when the main blooms are over. This plant is definitely worth including in a garden, for its beauty and benefits to wildlife.
Bye for now,
Rhian (Seasonal Ranger)