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, see below), 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

Centaury, Slender
Centaury, Slender
Centaury, Slender
Centaury, Slender

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 (composed of united petals forming a tube that spreads at the open end).  It has 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  Pure white forms are sometimes found alongside the normal pink form.  There are 2 wedge-or fan-shaped stigmas in a figure of eight formation.