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Common Names in English:
Great Starthistle, Greater Centaury, Greater Knapweed, Hardheads, Scabious Knapweed
Common Names in French:
Common Names in German:
Common Names in Portuguese:
The largest family of flowering plants , the Compositae (Asteraceae), comprising about 1,100 genera and more than 20,000 species and characterized by many small flowers arranged in a head looking like a single flower and subtended by an involucre of bracts. A head may consist of both ray flowers and disk flowers, as in the sunflower, of disk flowers only, as in the burdock, or of ray flowers only, as in the dandelion.
, biennials, or perennials, 20-300 cm, glabrous
. Stems erect
, or spreading
or branched. Leaves basal and cauline; petiolate
or sessile; proximal
often ± deeply lobed
in C. benedicta ), distal ± smaller, often entire, faces
glabrous or ± tomentose, sometimes also villous
, or puberulent
, often glandular-punctate. Heads discoid
, or radiant, borne singly or in corymbiform
arrays. Involucres cylindric
. Phyllaries many in 6-many series, unequal, proximal part appressed
, body margins entire. distal parts expanded into erect to spreading, usually ± dentate
, spine. tipped or spineless. Receptacles flat, epaleate, bristly
. Florets 10-many; outer usually sterile
, corollas slender and inconspicuous to much expanded, ± bilateral
; inner fertile
, corollas white to blue, pink, purple, or yellow, bilateral or radial
, often bent at junction of tubes
linear-oblong, acute; anther
, apical appendages oblong
; style branches: fused portions with minutely hairy
portions minute. Cypselae ± barrel-shaped, ± compressed
, apices entire (denticulate
benedicta ), glabrous or with fine, 1-celled hairs
, attachment scar
(with or without elaiosomes) ; pappi 0 or ± persistent
, of 1-3 series of smooth or minutely barbed
, stiff bristles
or narrow scales
. x = 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15.
Species ca. 500: introduced ; Eurasia , n Africa, widely introduced worldwide.
Taxonomic limits of Centaurea have been controversial. The genus has great morphologic diversity , and studies have revealed much cytologic (e.g. , N. Garcia-Jacas et al. 1996) and palynologic (e.g., G. Wagenitz 1955) variation as well. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, various taxonomists attempted, with limited success, to divide Centaurea into smaller genera or workable infrageneric taxa. The relations of several satellite genera have been controversial as well.
Recent molecular phylogenetic studies (A. Susanna et al. 1995; N. Garcia-Jacas et al. 2000, 2001) have begun to clarify relationships within Centaurea and between Centaurea and other genera. These studies make it clear that Centaurea as traditionally defined is polyphyletic, and that generic boundaries should be realigned if monophyletic taxa are to be recognized. Some taxa traditionally included within Centaurea (e.g., the two native North American species, Centaurea americana and C. rothrockii) fall outside the redefined generic boundaries and are here treated in Plectocephalus. Others usually placed into segregate genera (e.g., Cnicus benedictus) are firmly nested within Centaurea. Because the type species of Centaurea (C. centaurium Linnaeus, an African species) falls outside the main lineage of the genus, a proposal has been made to conserve Centaurea with a different type species (W. Greuter et al. 2001), thereby maintaining the nomenclatural stability of most of the numerous species that do fall within the principal Centaurea clade.
Although several Centaurea species are widely established as members of the North American flora , and some of these are widely distributed invasive weeds , some of the taxa listed by J. T. Kartesz and C. A. Meacham (1999) are apparently waifs and not permanent members of the flora. These taxa are discussed informally immediately below.
Although Cnicus has usually been recognized as a distinctive monotypic genus, it has been merged into Centaurea by various authors (e.g., K . Bremer 1994; G. Wagenitz and F. H. Hellwig 1996) . Recent molecular systematic studies (N. Garcia-Jacas et al. 2000) provide additional evidence that it is nested within Centaurea.
Species Centaurea scabiosa
Perennials, 30-150 cm. Stems 1-several, branches ascending , glabrous to ± hirsute . Leaves minutely hispid , resin-gland-dotted; basal and proximal cauline petiolate , blades 10-25 cm, margins usually 1-2-pinnately divided into linear or oblong segments; mid and distal cauline smaller, entire or once dissected . Heads borne singly or few in open cymiform arrays, pedunculate . Involucres ovoid to hemispheric , becoming campanulate , 15-25 mm. Phyllaries: bodies dark green, ovate (outer) to oblong-lanceolate (inner), glabrous or finely arachnoid , margins and erect appendages black, ± fringed distally with slender teeth, inner phyllaries with brownish scarious , expanded, erose dissected appendages. Florets many; corollas reddish purple (white), those of sterile florets 35-40 mm, often conspicuously enlarged, those of fertile florets 20-25 mm. Cypselae brown, 4.5-5 mm, puberulent ; pappi of many unequal stiff bristles , white, 4-5 mm. 2n = 20 (Russia), 40. [source]
Flowers: Bloom Period: July, August. • Flower Color: near white, pale pink, red-purple, white
Size: 24-36" tall.
Disturbed sites, pastures, sparingly escaped from cultivation, probably not persisting in all areas where reported; 50-1800 m .
Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 1,840 meters (0 to 6,037 feet).
Culture: Space 24-36" apart.
Soil: Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 7.8
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .
Moisture: Drought Tolerance: High
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b. (map)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Takhtajan Ex Reveal, 1992
- Lindley, 1833
- Giseke, 1792, nom. cons., nom. alt.
- C. Linnaeus, 1753
- Knapweed, star thistle, cornflower [Greek kentaurieon, ancient plant name associated with Chiron, a centaur famous for knowledge of medicinal plants]
- Specific epithet:
- Botanical name: - Centaurea scabiosa L.
- Specific epithet: scabiosa - L. - Pincushions
- Genus: Centaurea () - C. Linnaeus, 1753 - Knapweed, star thistle, cornflower [Greek kentaurieon, ancient plant name associated with Chiron, a centaur famous for knowledge of medicinal plants]
- Subtribe: Centaureinae ()
- Tribe: Cardueae ()
- Subfamily: Carduoideae ()
- Family: Compositae () - Giseke, 1792, nom. cons., nom. alt.
- Order: Asterales () - Lindley, 1833
- Superorder: Campanulanae () - Takhtajan Ex Reveal, 1992
- Subclass: Asteridae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Spermatopsida () - Brongniart, 1843
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Status: Accepted Name
Comment: Data Providers: New Zealand Plant Name Database, Govaerts World Compositae Checklist A-G, IPNI, Flora of China Checklist, Tropicos, Euro+Med. GCC LSID: urn :lsid:compositae.org:names:C3CA3FD2-E84C-42DC-9E4E-B7D078EB491B
Last scrutiny: 12-Aug-09
Members of the genus Centaurea
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 82 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
C. akamantis (Akamas Centaury) · C. alpestris (Greater Centaury) · C. americana (American Basketflower) · C. americana 'Aloha' (American Knapweed) · C. americana 'Jolly Joker' (American Knapweed) · C. aspera (Rough Star-Thistle) · C. atropurpurea (Centaurea) · C. bella (Knapweed) · C. benoistii (Maroon Cornflower) · C. biebersteinii (Ballast Waif Centaurea Biebersteinii) · C. bovina (Pasture Knapweed) · C. cachinalensis (Flor Del Minero) · C. calcitrapa (Big-Head Purple Starthistle) · C. calcitrapoides (Smallhead Star-Thistle) · C. cineraria (Dusty Miller) · C. cineraria 'Colchester White' (Dusty Miller) · C. crupina (Crupina) · C. cyanoides 'Blue Carpet' (Cornflower) · C. cyanus (Bachelor's Button) · C. cyanus nana 'Jubilee Gem' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Black Ball' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Black Boy' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Black Gem' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Black Magic' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Blue Boy' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Blue Diadem' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Classic Blue' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Dwarf Blue Midget' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Frosted Queen Mix' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Frosty Mix' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Mauve Queen' (Bachelors Button) · C. cyanus 'Polka Dot Mix' (Bachelors Button) · C. dealbata (Knapweed Centaurea Dealbata) · C. dealbata 'Rosea' (Knapweed) · C. debeauxii (Meadow Knapweed) · C. debeauxii thuillieri (Meadow Knapweed) · C. debeauxii subsp. thuillieri (Meadow Knapweed) · C. depressa (Centaurea) · C. diffusa (Diffuse Knapweed) · C. diluta (North African Knapweed) · C. eriophora (Sand-Heath) · C. gymnocarpa (Velvet Centaurea) · C. hypoleuca DC. 'John Coutts' (Knapweed) · C. iberica (Iberian Knapweed) · C. jacea (Brown Knapweed) · C. jacea x nigra (Hybrid Knapweed Centaurea Jacea X Nigra) · C. macrocephala (Armenian Basketflower) · C. melitensis (Cockspur Thistle) · C. moncktonii (Meadow Knapweed) · C. montana (Mountain Bluet) · C. montana 'Alba' (Mountain Bluet) · C. montana 'Amethyst in Snow' (Mountain Bluet) · C. montana 'Dot Purple' (Mountain Bluet) · C. montana 'Gold Bullion' (Batchelor's Button) · C. moschata 'Dairy Maid' (Sweet Sultan) · C. moschata 'Imperialis' (Sweet Sultan) · C. moschata 'The Bride' (Sweet Sultan) · C. nigra (Black Knapweed) · C. nigrescens (Short-Fringe Starthistle) · C. orientalis (Centaurea) · C. ovina (Lilac Knapweed) · C. paniculata (Jersey Knapweed) · C. phrygia (Scandinavian Starthistle) · C. pindicola (Centaurea) · C. pulcherrima (Pink Bachelors Button) · C. 'Pulchra Major' (Bachelor's Button) · C. ragusina (Dubrovacka Zecina) · C. rothrockii (Basket Flower) · C. scabiosa (Great Starthistle) · C. solstitialis (Barnaby Star-Thistle) · C. solstitialis solstitialis (St. Barnaby's Thistle) · C. stoebe (Spotted Knapweed) · C. sulphurea (Sicilian Starthistle) · C. thuillieri (Meadow Knapweed) · C. transalpina (Alpine Knapweed) · C. trichocephala (Feather-Head Knapweed) · C. triumfetti (Squarrose Knapweed Centaurea Triumfetti) · C. triumfettii (Spreading Thistle) · C. uniflora (Single-Flower Knapweed) · C. uniflora nervosa (Singleflower Knapweed) · C. xpratensis (Meadow Knapweed) · C.'Nigra' (Bachelor Buttons)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 27, 2007:
- Forest Research Institute, Department of Natural Forests, Herbarium
- Jyväskylä University Museum - The Section of Natural Sciences, Vascular plant collection of Jyvaskyla University Museum
- Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Vascular Plant Herbarium, Oslo
- Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Vascular Plants, Field notes, Oslo
- The Danish Biodiversity Information Facility, Botany registration database by Danish botanists
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Botany
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Herbarium of Oskarshamn
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Plants
- UK National Biodiversity Network, Environment and Heritage Service - EHS Species Datasets
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2658268
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Ast-22195
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 2494459
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:57128-3
- GRIN Nomen Number: 401603
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 36971
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: PDAST1Y0R0
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: CESC2
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 24367
- David J. Keil, Jörg Ochsmann "Centaurea". in Flora of North America Vol. 19, 20 and 21 Page 52, 57, 58, 67, 83, 84, 96, 171, 172, 176, 177, EFloras.org. [back]
- "Centaurea scabiosa". in Flora of North America Vol. 19, 20 and 21 Page 183, 185. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- Mean = 134.490 meters (441.240 feet), Standard Deviation = 211.640 based on 7,084 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]