Branching Centaury

Branching Centaury
Branching Centaury. Centaurium pulchellum.
Gentianaceae, the gentian family.

Description: A relatively low, delicate plant to 8" high with rounded clusters (cymes) of small pink flowers and small opposite leaves. Sometimes with many branching stems and flowers, but can also be a small plant with only a few flowers.
Flowers: Pink, star-shaped, with five petals, 3/8"-1/2". Stamens with yellow curly anthers. Flower appears to sit on top of a slightly swollen green tube, which is actually formed from the fused lower petals.
Leaves: Small, opposite, ovate, to 3/4". Smooth margins, sessile. Very sparsely distributed mostly at the base and near branches. Plant is mostly stems.
Blooming: June-August (?)
Habitat: Moist fields, meadows.

Comments: Introduced from Europe. The name centaurium supposedly refers to the centaurs of Greek mythology, who were healers (as well as bloody warriors), and hence discoverers of medicinal qualities of the plant.

Where to find it: Widely scattered in moist meadow areas of the park. Most common on the north and west sides of the pond, generally near the water.