T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Centaurium erythraea (Centaury)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Centaurium
Species: C. erythraea
Binomial name: Centaurium erythraea
Synonyms: Erythraea centaurium, Centaurium minus, Centaurium umbellatum
Common names: Centaury,European centaury

Centaury is an erect annual or biennial herb which reaches half a meter in height. It grows from a small basal rosette and bolts a leafy, erect stem which may branch. The triangular leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem and the erect inflorescences emerge from the stem and grow parallel to it, sometimes tangling with the foliage. Each inflorescence may contain many flowers. The petite flower is pinkish-lavender and about a centimetre across, flat-faced with yellow anthers. The fruit is a spindle shaped capsule (8 to 10mm long).It flowers November to April and can be found in open banks, riverbeds and roadsides.











Illustration of Centaurium erythraea