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

Centaurium erythraea Rafn
common centaury (European centaury)
Gentianaceae (Gentian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Rosemary Jorna  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #46909)

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Distribution of Centaurium erythraea
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Species Information

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Biennial herb from a short taproot; stems erect, many, simple to branched near the base, 10-50 cm tall.
Basal leaves forming a tuft, egg-shaped to oblanceolate, unstalked, 1.5-4 cm long, rounded at the tip, 3- to 5-veined; lower stem leaves similar to basal; upper stem leaves reduced, narrower, becoming more pointed at the tip.
Inflorescence of crowded, flat-topped, terminal clusters of unstalked or short-stalked flowers; corollas yellowish to pinkish-red, 1.1-1.6 cm long; calyces 4-6 mm long, lobes slender; anthers 1.5-2 mm long and conspicuously twisted; bracteoles 2, subtending the axillary flowers.
Capsules, cylindric, slender, thin-walled, 8-10 mm long; seeds irregularly angled, honeycombed, pitted.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland zone; frequent in SW and SE BC (Kootenay Lake); introduced from Eurasia.

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

Centaurium minus auct. non Moench [misapplied]
Centaurium umbellatum
Erythraea centaurium auct.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References