The basketflower (Centaurea americana) is a common wild annual in Texas. Its name probably comes from the buds which have a woven appearance. This plant is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and the knapweed genus, being closely related to cornflowers and bachelor's button. I first saw this flower growing along a dirt road amongst wild sunflowers, burdock and other weeds, and it certainly is striking. The flowers vary in color from lavender to almost white and look a lot like thistles, but bigger and not at all thorny. The seeds are sold under other names as well, like powderpuff and sweet sultan.
The seeds of basketflower are not hard to germinate, but the plants need plenty of sun and adequate water. They grow early in the season and die during very hot weather.