Gentianaceae: Gentian Family

Slender Centaury – Centaurium tenuiflorum

Blooms:

June-Aug

Plant Height:

2-75 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Eurasian

Habitat:

Fields, roadsides and open woodland

Notes:

This Centaury is characterised by a dense, generally flat-topped inflorescence of bright pink flowers with white centers.  Flowers are similar to Davy’s Centaury (Zeltnera davyi), but smaller (corolla lobes 2-4.5 mm) and ± sessile.  There are 2 stigmas with elliptic to ovate lobes.

Note: Centaurium used to include all the Centauries, but is now confined to Eurasian species.  California species are found in Zeltnera.

Photographs by Cliff Halverson

Timwort / American Microcala – Cicendia quadrangularis

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

< 9 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Grassy places

Notes:

A small, low-growing glabrous plant. The flower is very small and salverform with 4 abruptly spreading, bright yellow lobes. More distinctive is its quadrangular calyx, appearing truncated both top and bottom. Stems are narrow with opposite basal and cauline leaves.

Davy ‘s Centaury – Zeltnera davyi

Blooms:

May–Aug

Plant Height:

2–30 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Moist coastal bluffs, dunes, chaparral & open forest

Notes:

A delightful small flower, generally found in small groups but can appear in profusion. The corolla lobes are 3–7 mm across, bright pink with a white center but pure white forms are not uncommon, often found alongside the normal pink form. There are 2 wedge-or fan-shaped stigmas in a figure of eight formation.