Common centaury

Common Centaury

©Steve Chilton

Common centaury

Scientific name: Centaurium erythraea
A low-growing plant of sand dunes, heaths and grassy places, Common centaury is in bloom over summer. Look for clusters of pretty, pink, five-petalled flowers.

Species information


Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


Common centaury is a low-growing biennial that is found on sand dunes, heaths, woodland rides, quarries and other dry, grassy areas. It is in bloom between June and September and, like other members of the gentian family, its pink flowers close during the afternoon.

How to identify

Common centaury has small, pink, five-petalled flowers that are held in clusters at the top of the stems. It has a rosette of oval leaves at the base of the stem, and oval leaves that appear in opposite pairs up the stem, too.


Found throughout the UK, but scarcer in Scotland.

Did you know?

Common centaury was used by traditional herbalists to control fevers.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.