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Centaurium Erythraea

Updated on April 12, 2011

The Centaurea minor (Centaurium erythraea Rafn., 1800) is an herbaceous, annual or biennial, in the family Genzianacee.It is a herbal plant.

In common parlance, is often cited as a lesser Centaurea plant of the Asteraceae, Centaurea Centaurium to pink flowers, very common in fields and ditches.


Distribution And Habitat

Native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa, is common throughout the Italian territory.

It is located by the sea to the low mountains, meadows but also in the stubble.





20-50 cm high, under favorable conditions can reach to 60 cm, glabra, the stem is quadrangular, erect usually simple to the 4 / 5 below, densely branched at the top, top BiPar.




The leaves are opposite, the basal rosette, 3-5 cm x 2-3 cmm, obovate, obtuse, the Stem smaller, narrow and acute. In dichotomies side reduced to small bracts that surround the base of the flowers.




Flowers sessile or almost so, with calyx shorter than corolla tube, which is 1-2 cm long with 5 lobes of bright red, without spots, entire margin is collected in small corymbs. The stamens protrude from the corolla tube, anthers and writhe to life after the release of pollen.




The fruit is a capsule about 1 cm long, 1 mm thick, which opens in two halves.




The seeds are less than half a millimeter long and thin.


Similar species


It can be confused with:


·         Centaurium pulchellum is smaller, lacks a rosette of leaves at the base, branching is also present in the bottom of the barrel, or in any case is lower, the inflorescence is large and sparse, the flowers are stalked, the corolla with smaller the tube as longer than the calyx. the two species have identical properties and are included in the same common name.


·         Dianthus armory that has long linear leaves, flowers collected in small bundles and the free ptali toothed red with tiny bright dots.


·         Centaurium spicatum has inflorescences that branch dichotomously at the bottom, then the branches will continue as unipa peaks, like spikes, with flowers larger and stocky, with a large cup coasts.

Active Ingreadients

 It contains bitter glucosides such eritaurina, eritrocentaurina, fitosterina, sugar, rubber, oil ether, a glucoside, the eritricina, oleanolico acid, a resin, the centauriresina. The eritaurina was identified with the genziopicrina.


 It is used in herbal medicine, the dried whole plant and flowers, has bitter properties, appetizing, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antipruritic, antiputridative, antiscorbutic, carminative, cholagogic, emocatartiche, hypoglycemic, stimulant, tonic. It is also used in liqueurs. It is not recommended for those suffering from hyperchlorhydria.


 It is harvested during July-August when the flowers are present. They are prefered smaller plants 20-30 cm at the expense of larger ones.


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