Felt Bellflower

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Felt Bellflower
Filz-Flockenblume (Cyanus triumfettii)

Felt-flower(Cyanus triumfettii)

Order: Asters (Asterales)
Family: Compositae (Asteraceae)
Subfamily: Carduoideae
Tribus: Cynareae
Genre: Cyanus
Art: Felt Bellflower
Scientific name
Cyanus triumfettii
(All.) Á.Löve & D.Löve

The felt knapweed(Cyanus triumfettii), also called variegated knapweed, is a species of plant in the genus Cyanus in the daisy family (Asteraceae).

The identification of this plant species proves to be difficult, as it tends to hybridize (form bastards) quickly. This results in small species that are difficult to distinguish. Occasionally it is found as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks.


Habit, foliage and corolla

Flower basket in detail

Vegetative characteristics

The felt knapweed is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 5 to 60 centimetres. The rootstock is short creeping and whitish hairy. The stem is ascending and single-leaved.

Its stem leaves are undivided and narrowly lanceolate, and grey-felted on both sides. The upper leaves are clearly short and decurrent. They sit on short petioles

Generative characteristics

The flowering period is from May to July. The individual, terminal, short-stemmed baskets consist of tubular flowers, blue marginal flowers and violet to bright purple disc flowers. Unlike the mountain knapweed, the fringes of the bracts are usually pale and almost twice as long as the width of the brownish margin of the bracts. The involucral scales are green, often overlaid with red at the tip. The appendages of the middle involucral scales are dark brown, black, or pale. They are regularly fringed like a comb.

The chromosome number is 2n = 22 or 44.[1]


The felt knapweed is widespread in southern and central Europe. In Germany it occurs naturally only in a few places in southern Germany and the Alpine region. In Austria it occurs scattered in the southern and eastern provinces.

It inhabits semi-arid grasslands, margins and sparse forests. It is light- and heat-loving and occurs from the plains to the subalpine region. It thrives in associations of Geranion sanguinei, Carpinion, Caricion ferrugineae, Polygono-trisetion or the order Quercetalia pubescentis.[1]

Illustration of Cyanus triumfettii subsp. axillaris


The first publication was in 1773 under the name (basionym) Centaurea triumfetti by Carlo Allioni. The new combination to Cyanus triumfettii

(All.) Á.Löve & D.Lö ve was published in 1961 by Áskell Löve and Doris Löve. The species epithet triumfettii honours the Italian physician and botanist Giovanni Battista Triumfetti. The felt knapweed is assigned to the genus Cyanus together with the cornflower and the mountain knapweed.

Depending on the author, there are several subspecies of Cyanus triumfettii:[2]

  • Cyanus triumfettii subsp. axillaris (Čelak.) Štěpánek (Syn.: Centaurea triumfettii subsp. aligera Dostál, nom. illeg.): It occurs in Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sicily, the Balkan Peninsula, Slovakia, Romania and the Near East.[2]
  • Cyanus triumfettii subsp. nanus (Ten.) Greuter: it occurs only in Italy.[2]
  • Cyanus triumfettii subsp. strictus (Waldst. & Kit.) Dostál: It occurs in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.[2]
  • Cyanus triumfettii (All.) Á.Löve & D.Löve subsp. triumfettii : It occurs in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Romania and Albania.[2]


  • Xaver Finkenzeller, Jürke Grau: Alpenblumen. Erkennen und bestimmen (=Steinbachs Naturführer). New edited edition. Mosaik, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-576-10558-1, p. 268.
  • Manfred A. Fischer, Karl Oswald, Wolfgang Adler: Exkursionsflora für Österreich, Liechtenstein und Südtirol. 3., improved edition. Land Oberösterreich, Biologiezentrum der Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseen, Linz 2008, ISBN 978-3-85474-187-9.

Individual references

  1. a b Erich Oberdorfer: Pflanzensoziologische Exkursionsflora für Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete. With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8., strongly revised and supplemented edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5, p. 972
  2. a b c d e Werner Greuter (2006+): Compositae (pro parte majore). In: Werner Greuter, E. von Raab-Straube (ed.): Compositae. Data sheet Cyanus triumfettii In: Euro+Med Plantbase – the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.

Web links

Commons: Felt knapweed(Centaurea triumfettii)– Collection of images, videos and audio files