Centaurium erythraea Rafn, 1800
Common names: Common centaury, European centaury [En], Petite centaurée, Erythrée, Herbe à fièvre [Fr], Echt duizendguldenkruid [Nl], Echtes Tausendgüldenkraut [De], Centaurea minore [It], Centáurea menor [Es], Κενταύριο, Ερυθραία το Κενταύριο [Gr], Kırmızı kantaron [Tu]
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Durbuy, LUXEMBOURG ● Belgium
Description: This is an erect biennial herb which reaches half a meter in height. It grows from a small basal rosette and bolts a leafy, erect stem which may branched above.
The leaves are elliptical to oval, 3 to 7 veined, arranged oppositely on the stem.
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 pink to purplish, 9-15 mm across, flat-faced with yellow anthers. The fruit is a cylindrical capsule.
Biology: It flowers from June until September.
Habitat: Open woods, meadows and dry grasslands, often on chalky soils.
Distribution: Europe, including Britain, from Sweden to the Mediterranean and east to South Western Asia. Naturalised in parts of North America, eastern Australia and New Zealand.
In Belgium, it is regressing in all parts of the country and legally protected since 1976.
Uses: The whole herb is appetizer, aromatic, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emetic, weakly febrifuge, hepatic, stomachic and tonic. Centaury strengthens digestive function, especially within the stomach. By increasing stomach secretions it hastens the breakdown of food, it also stimulates the appetite and increases bile production.
It acts on the liver and kidneys, purifies the blood and is an excellent tonic for the digestive system.
A long-lasting bright yellowish-green dye is obtained from the flowers.
Caution: It may cause mild abdominal discomfort and cramps. It is contraindicated in patients with peptic ulcers. Safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
Wikipedia, Centaurium erythraea
Plants for a Future
Lansdown, R.V. 2013. Centaurium erythraea. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.