Page author: David Giblin
Centaurium erythraea
common centaury, European centaury

Distribution: Chiefly west of the Cascades in Washington; British Columbia south to California east to Idaho; eastern North America.

Habitat: Escaped to meadows, prairies and wasteland.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Introduced

Growth Duration: Annual, Biennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Annual, glabrous herbs, the 1-many stems simple or branched from the base, 1-5 dm. tall.


Basal leaves several, often forming a rosette, sessile, obovate or oblong-oblanceolate, 1.5-4 cm. long, rounded, 3- to 5-veined, the veins nearly parallel; cauline leaves opposite, similar to the basal, reduced, narrower and pointed upward.


Flowers many in crowded cymes, sessile, each with 2 subtending bracts; calyx 4-6 mm. long, the 5 lobes slender, acute; corolla yellowish to salmon-red, the slender tube twice the length of the calyx, the 5 lobes widely flaring, 4-6 mm. long, oblong-lanceolate; stamens attached midway in the corolla tube, slightly exerted, unequal; anthers conspicuously twisted; ovary superior.


Capsule 2-valved, slender, about 1 cm. long.

Accepted Name:
Centaurium erythraea Rafn
Publication: Danm. Holst. Fl. 2: 75-77. 1800.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Centaurium umbellatum Gilib., invalidly published [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Centaurium erythraea in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Centaurium erythraea checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Centaurium erythraea information.

E-Flora BC: Centaurium erythraea atlas page.

CalPhotos: Centaurium erythraea photos.

USDA Plants: Centaurium erythraea information.

45 photographs:
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