Common centaury (Centaurium erthraea)

 

Collins, 190; Readers Digest, 232

This is a delicate and beautiful plant with flower heads of delicate pink and five petals sometimes found in clusters and commonly found in solitary situations in grassy verges and footpaths.  On one occasion a pure white version has been seen in the Hassel Street area. 

According to Roman History, Common centaury was named after the Centaur Chiron.  This creature, part horse and part man, was said to have used the plant to heal wounds inflicted by the nine-headed serpent Hydra.  The plant was used in mediaeval times to heal common wounds of all types and was even claimed to remove freckles and facial blemishes.  The plant is very much determined by the conditions in which it grows.  Although the white variation has been seen in our area, there is no record of it occurring according to the text books.