Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Gentianaceae

Citation: Hill, Brit. Herb. 62 (1756).

Derivation: Greek name for one of the species in the genus and named perportedly after Chiron, the centaur who according to mythology used it medicinally.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Centauries.

Annual or biennial herbs with or without a basal rosette, with erect often much branched inflorescence; leaves sessile and hardly fused in pairs.

Calyx scarcely tubular, with 5 lobes; corolla salver-shaped (fig. 513B), with 5 lobes; stamens with the filaments fused to most of the corolla tube; anthers twisted after the pollen is shed; ovary bicarpellary, 1-celled, with persistent filiform styles each with 2 short and broad stigmas.

Fruit enclosed in the persistent calyx and corolla.

Distribution:  Almost cosmopolitan (absent from Africa), with 40-50 species.

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: Melderis (1972), Fl. Europaea 3:57, draws attention to the fact that the taxonomy of the genus and in particular that of the pink-flowered species is made difficult by parallel variations of many characters of different taxa as well as hybridisation between them. As it is impossible to assess what clones were introduced into Australia, it is usually difficult to evaluate whether one deals with intermediate forms or hybrids between C. erythraea, C. spicatum and C. tenuiflorum.

Key to Species:
1. Corolla yellow; flowers distinctly pedicellate
C. maritimum 2.
1. Corolla pink to deep-mauve; flowers sessile or if with a pedicel more than 2 mm long then the inflorescence with spike-like monochasia
2. Inflorescence ending in spike-like monochasia
C. spicatum 3.
2. Inflorescence with repeated dichasial branching, or if ending in monochasia then only up to 3 flowers
3. Calyx half to two-thirds of the length of the corolla tube
C. erythraea 1.
3. Calyx about as long as the corolla tube but up to two-thirds of its length in fruiting material
C. tenuiflorum 4.

Author: Not yet available

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water