Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Plants Records Manager’s Choice: Centratherum punctatum

Posted in Around the Garden on March 4 2011, by Plant Talk

Ed. Note: Much as when the Garden photographer tells you something is special, when one of the Garden’s serious plant guys shoots you an email, you sit up and listen. This happened recently when I got an email from Jon Peter, Plants Records Manager about a little purple flower.

The Botanical Garden’s living collections is among the greatest in the world and contains more than 1 million plants. Jon Peter, Plant Records Manager, periodically shines the spotlight on a particular species that can be found within our 250 acres.

This pretty flower is of Centratherum punctatum. The name Centratherum comes from the Greek kentron meaning spur and anthos meaning flower; referring to the flower having a spur-like base. The specific epithet punctatum means spotted. It goes by many common names including larkdaisy, Brazilian button flower, pineapple thistle, porcupine flower, Brazilian bachelor’s button and Manaos beauty.

Centratherum punctatum

It is a member of the Asteraceae family (sunflower family). Resources vary but many list this species as native to most of South America, Australia and the Philippines. It is also listed as a naturalized weed in Florida and Hawaii where is will generally inhabit disturbed areas. It is a one to two foot tall tender perennial that is often cultivated as an annual in northern climates and has a tendency to reseed itself annually into the garden in many parts of the world.

Centratherum punctatum

These beautiful lavender colored flowers sit atop coarsely toothed leaves that when crushed give off an aroma of pineapples. In tropical climates it can flower almost year-round which helps to make the flowers very attractive to butterflies.

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