E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Centaurea nigra L.
black knapweed (lesser knapweed)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© RĂ©al Sarrazin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26855)

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Distribution of Centaurea nigra
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, branched, rough-hairy, 10-80 cm tall.
Basal leaves oblanceolate, long-stalked, toothed or shallowly lobed to entire, long-hairy above and below, the blade up to 15 cm long and 3 cm wide; stem leaves reduced and becoming unstalked upward.
Heads discoid, few to several, solitary at the ends of erect branches; disk flowers rose to purple, rarely white, the marginal ones not enlarged; involucres 12-15 mm tall, nearly as wide; involucral bracts with enlarged, broad, rounded, comb-like to tattered, black to dark brown appendages at the tips, these wider than the bracts.
Achenes compressed, light brown or light grey, sparsely hairy, 3-3.5 mm long; pappus in several series, about 1 mm long, rarely lacking.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides and fields in the lowland and montane zones; rare in S BC south of 51degreeN; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Centaurea nigra var. radiata DC.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References