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

Centaurea scabiosa L.
greater centaurea (greater knapweed)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Robert Flogaus-Faust  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26212)

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Distribution of Centaurea scabiosa
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, branched, lightly cobwebby, 0.3-1.5 m tall.
Basal leaves egg-shaped in outline, deeply and irregularly pinnately segmented, the segments narrowly elliptic-lanceolate; stem leaves broader, reduced upwards.
Heads discoid, few to several on ascending branches; involucres 15-20 mm tall, nearly as wide; involucral bracts egg-shaped to more lanceolate with a black or dark brown fringe at the tips, these about 1 mm long and often curled; disk flowers purple, rarely white or yellow, the sterile marginal ones about 40 mm long with lobes 10 mm long.
Achenes light brown, 4-5 mm long; pappus light brown, about 4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic fields and waste places in the montane zone; rare in WC BC, known only from Burns Lake and Fraser Lake; 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 scabiosa var. vertesensis (Boros) Soo

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References