1. Family: Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Genus: Centaurea L.
      1. Centaurea praecox Oliv. & Hiern

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical Africa.


    Compositae, H. Beentje, C. Jeffrey & D.J.N. Hind. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2005

    Perennial herb with one to several stems from branched woody rootstock, often flowering from ground level before the leafy branches appear; stems to 50 cm high, hardly branched, thinly pubescent but glabrescent.
    Leaves grey-green, subsessile, narrowly elliptic, 3–7 cm long, 0.3–1.4(–6) cm wide, base attenuate or almost wider than the stem, margins entire or with a few small distal teeth, apex acute and mucronate, thinly pubescent becoming scabridulous and glabrescent, densely glandular.
    Capitula heterogamous, radiant, often precocious and at ground level (especially in Tanzania), where they are terminal on short stalks to 5 cm long, or solitary and terminal on leafy shoots to 20 cm long; involucre 1.5–2 cm high; phyllaries green with brown tips, ovate to lanceolate, 5–19 mm long, the outermost smallest and with reflexed appendages with 3–7 spines to 7 mm long, the inner with fewer spines and with the appendage pectinate-fimbriate; receptacle with setae 8–13 mm long, flattened and twisted.
    Florets exserted, scented; marginal florets with corolla white or pale mauve, in one series, neuter, the tube cylindric, 18 mm long, lobes 5.5–6 mm long, erect, staminodes and ?vestigial style included; inner florets with corolla white or pale mauve, many, tube cylindric, 10–12 mm long, lobes 3.5–5 mm long, spreading or erect, anthers pale purple.
    Achenes pale brown, ovoid-cylindric, 7–8 mm long, 4-grooved, sparsely pilose or glabrous; pappus of narrow scale-like setae to 1.5 mm long.
    Fig. 15.
    Grassland or wooded grassland, occasionally in woodland; 950–2600 m
    K2 K3 T4 T7 U1 West Africa from Mali and Ghana to NE Africa in Sudan and Ethiopia, Congo (Kinshasa), Burundi, south to Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe

    Compositae, C. D. Adams. Flora of West Tropical Africa 2. 1963

    An erect branched herb 1-2 ft. high from a perennial woody stock
    Florets reddish-purple or rose-pink the outer fading first to pale mauve, in prickly heads 3/4-1 in. long, usually appearing close to the ground, the leafy shoots elongating later
    Leaves very variable in breadth.

    Compositae, G. V. Pope. Flora Zambesiaca 6:1. 1992

    A low-growing perennial herb, often caespitose, with 1-several stems from a large, branched, semi-woody rootstock.
    Stems up to c. 40 cm. high, erect or somewhat decumbent, sparingly branched, hispid-pubescent to glabrescent, less often granular-tomentose.
    Leaves subsessile, mostly 3–4 x 0.5–1.4 cm., oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate, acute mucronate at the apex, rounded to cuneate below, remotely serrate above, glandular-punctate and hispid-pubescent becoming scabridulous or glabrescent, the hairs abruptly filiform at the apices.
    Capitula precocious, or contemporaneous with the leaves, 1-many borne at or just above ground-level when produced before the leaves, solitary and terminal on 1-many short naked or bracteate radical stalks c. 1–5 cm. long; or the capitula solitary and terminal on foliose branches 4–18 cm. long when produced together with the leaves.
    Involucres up to 20 x 16 mm., hemispheric to campanulate, broadly urceolate in fruit.
    Phyllaries many-seriate, imbricate, coriaceous and glabrous with distinctive apical appendages; outer phyllaries c. 5 mm. long and ovate-rotund, increasing uniformly to c. 19 mm. long towards the inside becoming narrowly lanceolate; appendages of the outer 4–6 series of phyllaries usually purplish and reflexed, expanded with an apical spine and 2–3 pairs of smaller lateral spines, the spines best developed in the outermost phyllaries, up to c. 7 mm. long or very much reduced; appendages of the innermost phyllaries paler, expanded hyaline and lacerate.
    Receptacle densely setose, the setae 8–13 mm. long, ± flattened smooth and twisted.
    Florets glandular, glabrous; the marginal florets neuter, corollas whitish up to c. 25 mm. long, narrowly cylindric and deeply 5-lobed, staminodes included; inner-florets hermaphrodite, corollas white, often purple-tinged, up to c. 19 mm. long, narrowly infundibuliform, lobes 4–5 mm. long, anthers purplish.
    Achenes stramineous or pale-brown, 7–8 mm. long, 2.5–3 mm. in diam. at the middle, ovoid-cylindric and somewhat curved, ± obliquely truncate and shallowly cup-shaped apically, narrowly 4-grooved, sparsely finely puberulent to glabrescent, with a lateral oblique-concave attachment-scar; pappus several-seriate of persistent unequal narrow scale-like setae up to c. 1.5 mm. long, free to the base.



    Native to:

    Benin, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:


    Centaurea praecox Oliv. & Hiern appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jan 1, 2009 Abeid, Y.S. [2084], Tanzania K000614933
    Schweinfurth, G. [2657], Sudan K000418530
    Barter [1223], Nigeria K000418534
    Chevalier, A.J.B. [24497], Mali K000391816

    First published in Fl. Trop. Afr. 3: 438 (1877)

    Accepted by

    • Roskov Y. & al. (eds.) (2018). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • Chev. Bot. 376.
    • in F.T.A. 3: 438 (1877)
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Agnew, A.D.Q. & Agnew, S., Upland Kenya Wild Flowers, ed. 2: 228, t. 97 (1994).
    • G.V. Pope in Flora Zambesiaca 6: 55, t. 12 (1992).
    • Lisowski, Aster. Fl. Afr. Centr.: 596 (1991).
    • Cribb & Leedal, Mountain Flow. S. Tanz.: 153, t. 40c (1982).
    • C. Jeffrey in Kew Bulletin 22: 134 (1968).
    • C.D. Adams in Flora of West Tropical Africa ed. 2, 2: 291 (1963).
    • F. W. Andr., The Flowering Plants of the Sudan 3: 15 (1956).
    • Philipson in Journal of Botany 77: 231 (1939).
    • Oliv. & Hiern in Flora of Tropical Africa 3: 438 (1877).


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    Flora of West Tropical Africa

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    Kew Backbone Distributions
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    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0