Spotted knapweed

Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos  (Gugler) Hayek

​​Ideal conditions: dry, sandy areas

Leaves up to 4 years prior to producing flowers: Narrow, oval shaped unlobed to deeply lobed, gray-green leaves arranged in a circular manner around the base.


Mature leaves: become smaller and more linear as they alternate up the stem.

Flowers: Bloom persists from mid-summer into fall. Pink or purple thistle-like flower heads with many tubular flowers and five narrow lobes that fan out.

Comments: Centaurea stoebe is distinguished from other knapweeds by its dark phyllaries (noted in the picture).  The common name is derived from the spotted bracts (little leaves under the flowers).  Sometimes the flowers can be mistaken for a Blazing Star (Liatris) or a Thistle.  They are in the same family. 

Family:     Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Duration:  Biennial or Short-lived Perennial

Height:     Up to 122 cm (4 ft)

Blooming: July-Aug.

all photos by Nathanael Pilla
Species Present and Exotic
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