Centaurium erythraea (NL: Echt duizendguldenkruid / EN: Common centaury / DE: Echte Tausendgüldenkraut / FR: Petite centaurée) is a species of flowering plant in the gentianaceae family. This centaury is a widespread plant of Europe and parts of western Asia and northern Africa. It has also naturalised in parts of North America and throughout eastern Australia, where it is an introduced species. C. erythraea 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 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 centimeter across, flat-faced with yellow anthers. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies and beetles.The plant is also self-fertile. The species prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, well-drained and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant is used as a flavouring in bitter herbal liqueurs and is an ingredient of vermouth but in Flanders strictly protected.
Image: Broechem (BE) - 10/06/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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