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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Robert Flogaus-Faust     (Photo ID #26212)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Centaurea scabiosa
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Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Centaurea scabiosa var. vertesensis (Boros) Soo