Belonging to the Compositae or Asteraceae family. the centaura includes about 500 species and while some are cultivated as a simple ornamental plant, many others are considered officinal plants for their therapeutic virtues. Centaurea is an annual, biennial or perennial plant and has flowers that are born wrapped in a wrapper of bracts. The flowers open in five large lobes and their color varies from pink to violet and the bracts are ciliate but also thorny. Since there is a great variety of this plant, careful observation is needed to understand what subspecies it is. Among the countless species of centaurea, the minor Centaurea is the one that is most suitable for phytotherapy.
Other centaurea species and therapeutic properties
Centaurea moscata, also called "Ambretta bianca" is another species of plant that has deep purple flowers and is very fragrant. The Centaurea montana instead, we find it in the Alps, only after 1900 meters and reaches a height of 50 centimeters.
In Sardinia grows the Centaurea horrida which is called "spiny cornflower" because of the leaves and flowers full of thorns. Then we find the Centaurea macrochephalea which is so called for its yellow flowers with a very large head and reaches a height of one meter. The highest Centaurea instead, is the Babylonian one that can reach even the height of 3 meters. The most beautiful centaurea, on the other hand, is the most candid with flowers and leaves in silvery color. Centauris in general, except for ornamental ones, have astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and toxoid properties and are very useful for conjunctivitis.