Phytochemistry: Structure of the blue cornflower pigment

  • Shiono M
  • Matsugaki N
  • Takeda K
  • 217


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 85


    Citations of this article.


The same anthocyanin pigment makes roses red but cornflowers blue, a phenomenon that has so far not been entirely explained. Here we describe the X-ray crystal structure of the cornflower pigment, which reveals that its blue colour arises from a complex of six molecules each of anthocyanin and flavone, with one ferric iron, one magnesium and two calcium ions. We believe that this tetrametal complex may represent a previously undiscovered type of supermolecular pigment.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • Masaaki Shiono

  • Naohiro Matsugaki

  • Kosaku Takeda

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free