Centaurium

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Centaurium

 

(formerly Erythraea), a genus of plants of the family Gentianaceae. They are annual, biennial, or perennial herbaceous plants with entire leaves. The flowers are pentamerous or, less often, tetramerous, clustered in a multiflorous inflorescence. The corolla has a long tube and is pink or white. The fruit is a capsule. There are 40 to 50 species distributed throughout most of the world. In the USSR there are seven species. The best-known is C. minus, a biennial with radical leaf rosettes. Its flowers are pink, clustered in corymbose-paniculate inflorescences. It grows in meadows, scrub, forest glades, and the wastelands of the European USSR, the Caucasus, the Altai, and Middle Asia. Decoctions, infusions, and tinctures are prepared from its dried aboveground parts. These preparations are used as medicines that stimulate the appetite and aid in the improvement of digestion.