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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Rosemary Jorna     (Photo ID #46909)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Centaurium erythraea
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Species Information

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.

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

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Centaurium minus auct. non Moench [misapplied]
Centaurium umbellatum
Erythraea centaurium auct.