Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea)

There has been some concern about the amount of Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea) in our region this year. There have been queries about whether it is a wildflower or not, and what we have to do to control it if it is an introduced species.

Common Centaury is a species native to Europe and parts of western Asia. It is commonly found in our region in a variety of sites in grasslands and woodlands and disturbed sites such as pastures and roadsides.

It has been a common weed in our region for a very long time. In some seasons it is not as prolific as it has been this year, though is always present. In most seasons it does not attain the height and density that it has this year, often growing to only 75-100mm tall and with flowering not usually as heavy. It appears that the seasonal conditions suited the species this year, hence the density of plants, size of plant and number of flowers.

Some people have been asking how to control it. Centaury is generally a fairly innocuous weed species. There are far more serious species needing control in our region before much effort is spent on Centaury (e.g. Serrated Tussock, African Love Grass, Chilean Needle Grass and St John’s Wort to name a few). However, manual removal (hand pulling or chipping) of this species is easy if it is of concern to you.