Welcome back to Seed of the Week!

Our mystery seeds from two weeks ago were indeed from the common garden flower bachelor's buttons, Centaurea cyanus.

bachelors buttons flowersThey may also be called cornflowers, although other kinds of plants may share that name.

Bachelor's buttons were originally from Europe. They have been grown as an annual garden flower throughout the world and have naturalized in parts of North America and Australia. Ironically, the plant is declining in the wild in Europe.


The flowers are commonly a lovely blue, although other shades are possible.

Nordens_flora_007_Blåklint(Botanical illustration by C.A.M. Lindman at Wikimedia)

 Have you ever grown bachelor's buttons in your garden?

It's May and the saguaro cacti are in full bloom.

saguaro-flower-carpenter-bee-111Although the flowers are open at night, they remain open long enough in the morning for bees and birds to gather their nectar and pollen.

saguaro-flowers-bees-123Both honey bees and carpenter bees are visiting these flowers.

white-winged-dove-on-saguaroThe birds that pollinate the saguaros are white-winged doves. They show up as the cacti begin to flower and stay through the summer fruiting season.

bees-over-saguaro-flowers-456Why didn't I get any closer photographs?

saguaro-exampleThat might have been a bit difficult, as saguaros can be roughly 50 feet tall when mature. The flowers form at the top.

Have you ever seen a saguaro cactus in bloom?


As Sara recognized, our mystery seeds from last week were from curly dock, Rumex crispus.


Curly dock is a short-lived perennial that can now be found growing throughout the world. It is thought to be originally from Europe. (Photograph is of related a Rumex). Here in Arizona it can be found in the higher elevations.


In the summer inconspicuous green flowers form on a single, towering stalk.


The plant is easier to recognize when the flower stalk matures and turns a noticeable rusty brown. It stands out against nearby green plants.


The "wings" around the seeds are the calyx (collection of sepals) of the original flowers. The calyx of curly dock has more smoothly rounded margins than some other species, which is an identifying characteristic.

In this video, you can see how the brown stalks stand out. (Note: there may be a pop-up ad).


Have you seen curly dock before? Is it common where you live?