Centaurea nigra

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeCentaureaCentaurea nigra


A perennial herb of meadows and pastures, sea-cliffs, roadsides, railway banks, scrub, woodland edges, field borders and waste ground, on a wide range of soils. 0-580 m (Cadair Idris, Merioneth) and exceptionally at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).



World Distribution

Suboceanic Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

© R. Stewart, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1093

Height (cm): 80

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2658

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 975

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 11

Atlas Change Index: -0.25

Weighted Changed Factor: -7

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (291d)
Atlas Supp (74a-c)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Grose D
1957.  The Flora of Wiltshire.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Marsden-Jones EM, Turrill WB
1954.  British Knapweeds.
Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.
Ockendon DJ, Walters SM, Whiffen TP
1969.  Variation within Centaurea nigra L. Proceedings of the Botanical Society of the British Isles. 7:549-552.