Centaurea raphanina

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae

Centaurea raphanina

This is one of the many thistle-like members of the Daisy family found in the Mediterranean region, but it differs from most in that its flowers are either stemless or have such short stems that they appear to hug the ground.


With pink to purple flowers, the rounded compound inflorescences of Centaurea raphanina are 15 to 25mm across. Its dark-green leaves are rough-looking and hairy; some of the leaves are oval and entire, while others are pinnate with a shape reminiscent of Dandelion leaves.


This attractive little wildflower thrives in crevices on rocky cliffs; it also grows on old walls and on dry stony ground, either in the open or nestling between other low shrubby vegetation.


Centaurea raphanina subsp. raphanina is shown on this page. It is endemic to Crete, Karpathos and Kasos, this low-growing relative of Cornflowers is widespread and quite common on the island of Crete, where these photographs were taken. (We understand that Centaurea raphanina subsp. mixta is similar and has a wider native distribution range that includes Greece and many more of the Aegean islands.)

Centaurea raphanina, closeup view of an inflorescence

Flowering times

Centaurea raphanina can be seen in flower between April and July. The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Crete during May.


The specific epithet raphanina means radish-like; the leaves of this plant are considered to be a valuable salad vegetable.

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