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Centaurium erythraea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: GentianaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb [to trees]. Stem: decumbent to erect, < 2 m, simple or branched. Leaf: simple, cauline, sometimes also basal, opposite or whorled, entire, sessile or basal +- petioled; stipules 0. Flower: bisexual, radial, parts in 4s or 5s except pistil 1; sepals fused, persistent; petals fused, +- persistent, sinus between lobes often unappendaged; stamens epipetalous, alternate corolla lobes; ovary superior, chamber 1, placentas parietal, often intruding, stigmas 1--2. Fruit: capsule, 2-valved. Seed: many.
Genera In Family: +- 90 genera, 1800 species: worldwide; some cultivated (Eustoma, Exacum, Gentiana). Note: Gentianella tenella moved to Comastoma. Key to genera revised by Bruce G. Baldwin.
eFlora Treatment Author: James S. Pringle, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CentauriumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: CENTAURY
Habit: Annual, biennial, glabrous. Stem: erect, branched or simple below inflorescence. Leaf: cauline, opposite, also basal or not. Inflorescence: cyme. Flower: parts generally in 5s; calyx lobes >> tube (discounting thin membrane between lobes in Centaurium tenuiflorum), +- appressed to corolla tube; corolla salverform, generally pink, lobes < tube, elliptic-oblong, entire or minutely toothed at tip, scales 0, nectary pits 0 (nectaries elsewhere 0); stamens initially curved to 1 side, dehisced anthers spirally twisted; ovary sessile, style thread-like (much wider than filaments), cleft 0.5--1 mm, deciduous, stigmas 2, elliptic to ovate.
Species In Genus: +- 15 species: temperate, dry-mesic tropics, +- Eurasia, northern Africa, Mexico. Etymology: (Latin: centaur, mythological discoverer of plants medicinal properties) Note: Native species moved to Zeltnera.

Centaurium erythraea Rafn
Habit: Plant (3)20--60 cm. Leaf: basal generally rosetted, 15--70 mm, obovate to widely elliptic, rounded; cauline 8--50 mm, elliptic to lanceolate, acute. Inflorescence: dense, +- flat-topped; flowers sessile, immediately subtended by 2 bracts. Flower: corolla lobes 4.5--8 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=42.
Ecology: Fields, roadsides; Elevation: < 200 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo (esp near Crescent City, Eureka, Fort Bragg); Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, eastern North America; native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: Jul--Sep
eFlora Treatment Author: James S. Pringle
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botanical illustration including Centaurium erythraea


Citation for this treatment: James S. Pringle 2016. Centaurium erythraea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 23, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 23, 2016.

Centaurium erythraea
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© 2003 George W. Hartwell

More photos of Centaurium erythraea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Centaurium erythraea:
NCo (esp near Crescent City, Eureka, Fort Bragg);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.