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Perennial Centaury

Centaurium scilloides

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Gentianaceae (Gentian)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Pink flowers with bright yellow anthers. The flowers usually appear in clusters but are sometimes seen solitary.
The fruit is a many-seeded, cylindrical capsule.
The leaves are roundish and stalked, in opposite pairs up the stems. UK's only perennial species of Centaury.
Other Names:
Blushwort, Pink Gentian, Squill-leaved Centaury, Squill-leaved Centuary.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Centaurium scilloides, also known as squill-leaved centaury or squill-leaved centuary, is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to other parts of the world as a weed. The plant is known for its small, pink or white flowers and narrow leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Centaurium scilloides is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 60 cm in height. It is commonly found in disturbed areas and is considered an invasive weed in some areas. The plant is used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Perennial Centaury, also known as Centaurium scilloides, is a wildflower that is native to Europe and Asia. It is known for its beautiful pink, star-shaped flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant can reach up to 30 cm in height and is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and grasslands.

The name Centaurium is derived from the Centaur Chiron, a Greek mythological figure who was known for his knowledge of medicine and herbs. The plant was believed to have healing properties and was used in traditional medicine for various ailments, including digestive problems and respiratory issues.

Perennial Centaury is an easy-to-grow plant that thrives in well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. It is also very adaptable and can tolerate a variety of soil types, making it an excellent choice for gardeners with different soil conditions.

The plant is also low-maintenance and does not require any special care. Once established, it is a self-sowing plant that can spread rapidly and create a beautiful ground cover in the garden.

In addition to its beauty and medicinal properties, Perennial Centaury is also an important food source for many pollinators, including bees and butterflies. It provides nectar and pollen for these beneficial insects, making it an important addition to any wildlife garden.

In conclusion, Perennial Centaury is a beautiful, easy-to-grow wildflower that provides many benefits to the garden. Whether you are looking to add a touch of pink to your meadow, provide food for pollinators, or want a plant with healing properties, Perennial Centaury is an excellent choice.

Perennial Centaury can be propagated by seed or by division. If you choose to propagate by seed, it is best to sow the seeds in the fall or spring, directly in the garden. The seeds will germinate in about two weeks and will grow into mature plants within one year.

If you prefer to propagate by division, the plant can be easily divided in the spring or fall. Simply dig up the plant and divide it into smaller sections, making sure each section has a healthy root system. Replant the sections in the desired location and water them thoroughly.

When planting Perennial Centaury in your garden, be sure to space the plants about 20 cm apart. This will give them enough room to grow and spread, creating a beautiful ground cover in your garden.

The plant is also deer and rabbit resistant, making it a great choice for gardeners who have these animals in their area. It is also drought tolerant, making it an excellent choice for gardens with limited water resources.

In summary, Perennial Centaury is a beautiful and versatile plant that is easy to grow and maintain. It provides many benefits to the garden, including a pop of pink color, food for pollinators, and medicinal properties.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological benefits, Perennial Centaury has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant contains several active compounds, including bitter compounds, tannins, and essential oils, that have been used to treat a variety of ailments.

For example, in traditional European medicine, Perennial Centaury was used to treat digestive problems, such as indigestion and bloating. It was also used as a remedy for respiratory issues, including bronchitis and coughs. The plant was often brewed into a tea and consumed to help alleviate these symptoms.

Perennial Centaury has also been used as a tonic to boost the immune system and increase overall health. It is believed that the plant's bitter compounds stimulate the digestive system and help to improve overall health and well-being.

However, it is important to note that the use of Perennial Centaury for medicinal purposes should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional. While the plant is considered safe for most people, it can interact with certain medications and cause adverse effects.

In conclusion, Perennial Centaury is not only a beautiful and versatile plant, but it also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Whether you are looking to add a pop of color to your garden, provide food for pollinators, or seek the plant's medicinal properties, Perennial Centaury is an excellent choice.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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