Centaurium erythraea

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Centaurium erythraea
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Centaurium
C. erythraea
Binomial name
Centaurium erythraea
    • Centaurella dichotoma Delarbre
    • Centaurium capitatum (Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.) Borbás
    • Centaurium corymbosum (Dulac) Druce
    • Centaurium erythraea var. capitatum (Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.) Melderis
    • Centaurium erythraea var. fasciculare (Duby) Ubsdell
    • Centaurium erythraea var. latifolium (Sm.) T.C.G.Rich
    • Centaurium erythraea var. laxum (Boiss.) Mouterde ex Charpin & Greuter
    • Centaurium erythraea var. masclansii O.Bolòs & Vigo
    • Centaurium erythraea var. subcapitatum (Corb.) Ubsdell
    • Centaurium erythraea var. sublitorale (Wheldon & Salmon) Ubsdell
    • Centaurium latifolium (Sm.) Druce
    • Centaurium lomae (Gilg) Druce
    • Centaurium minus Moench
    • Centaurium minus var. austriacum (Ronniger ex Fritsch) Soó
    • Centaurium minus var. transiens (Wittr.) Soó
    • Centaurium umbellatum f. album Sigunov
    • Centaurium umbellatum var. fasciculare (Duby) Gilmour
    • Centaurium vulgare Rafn
    • Chironia centaurium (L.) F.W.Schmidt
    • Chironia centaurium var. fascicularis Duby
    • Chironia erythraea Schousb.
    • Erythraea capitata Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.
    • Erythraea centaurium (L.) Pers.
    • Erythraea centaurium f. itatiaiaensis Dusén
    • Erythraea corymbosa Dulac
    • Erythraea germanica Hoffmanns. & Link
    • Erythraea latifolia Sm.
    • Erythraea lomae Gilg
    • Erythraea vulgaris Gray
    • Gentiana centaurium L.
    • Gentiana gerardii F.W.Schmidt
    • Gentiana palustris Lam.
    • Gonipia linearis Raf.
    • Hippocentaurea centaurium Schult.
    • Libadion variabile Bubani
    • Xolemia palustris (DC.) Raf.
Centaurium erythraea, as depicted in 6th-century Leiden manuscript of Pseudo-Apuleius' Herbarius

Centaurium erythraea is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family known by the common names common centaury and European centaury.


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 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 fruit is a cylindrical capsule.

It flowers from June until September.


This centaury is a widespread plant of Europe (including Scotland, Sweden and Mediterranean countries[2]) and parts of western Asia and northern Africa. It has also naturalised in parts of North America,[2] New Zealand, and eastern Australia, where it is an introduced species.


It is also commonly known as “feverfoullie”, “gentian” or “centaury”.[2]


The European centaury is used as a medical herb in many parts of Europe. The herb, mainly prepared as tisane, is thought[by whom?] to possess medical properties beneficial for patients with gastric and liver diseases.[3]

Chemical constituents[edit]

C. erythraea contains phenolic acids, including ferulic and sinapic acids, as well as sterols (as brassicasterol and stigmasterol), secoiridoid and the glycosides, swertiamarin and sweroside.[2][citation needed]


  1. ^ "Centaurium erythraea Rafn". Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Kumarasamy, Y.; Nahar, L.; Cox, P. J.; Jaspars, M.; Sarker, S. D. (2003). "Bioactivity of secoiridoid glycosides from Centaurium erythraea". Phytomedicine. urbanfischer.de. 10 (4): 344–347. doi:10.1078/094471103322004857. PMID 12809366. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Centaury, Herbal medicine: Summary for the Public" (PDF). European Medicines Agency. 2 February 2016.

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