Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian family).
Natives of Europe.
Occurrence: Both species are widespread, in bushland, grassland, roadsides, and weedy areas.
- both have clusters of pale pink to bright pink flowers at the ends of branches
- they flower in summer
- the flowers are tubular with 4 or 5 petals at the ends of the tubes
- they grow to about 20-30 cm (occasionally to 50 cm)
- the leaves are oval and stalkless.
Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea).
- it usually has a rosette of green leaves at the base of the plant at flowering time
- the calyx (coloured green, just below the petals) is distinctly shorter than the petal-tube
- the flowers are usually pale pink.
Slender Centaury (Centaurium tenuiflorum).
- the leaves at the base have withered by flowering time
- the calyx is about as long as, or longer, than the petal-tube
- the flowers are usually bright pink to magenta.
Intermediates are common, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two species. Centauries are conspicuous plants in the summer bushland. Both Centauries are environmental weeds.
Centaurium: from the Centaur Chiron, from Greek mythology. He cured himself from a wound received from an arrow poisoned with the blood of the Hydra by using this plant.
2. Common Centaury. Irishtown.