Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Gentianales - Family: Gentianaceae
This lovely but rare and declining member of the Gentian family is a wildflower of acidic heaths and the margins of shallow, seasonally-flooded ponds.
These tiny annual plants, usually between 4 and 12cm in height, have solitary four-petaled flowers on long stalks.
The yellow flowers (occasionally tinged with pink) are just 3 to 7mm across; rather like their close relative Yellow Wort, they open fully only on bright sunny days. There is a basal rosette of redenning strap-like leaves, while a few smaller narrow and pointed leaves are sparsely distributed up the slender stems, which sometimes branch.
This is a rare find in Britain and Ireland, being mainly confined to a few sites in south-western Ireland, south-west Wales and the south-west of England. There are also strongholds for this delicate little wildfllower in the New Forest.
Yellow Centaury is native to parts of Europe and North Africa but has also been introduced to other regions of the world including Australia.
In Great Britain and Ireland, Yellow Centaury can be seen in flower between July and September.
This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Betty and Tony Rackham.
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