Spring-loving Centaury

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Spring-loving Centaury

Centaurium namophilum

ListedMay 20, 1985
FamilyGentianaceae (Gentian)
DescriptionErect clump-forming annual herb, bearing pink flowers.
HabitatAsh Meadows; wet clay soils.
ThreatsLimited numbers, groundwater pumping.
RangeCalifornia, Nevada


Spring-loving centaury, Centaurium namophilum, is an erect, annual herb, which grows as a clump of stems and reaches 18 in (45 cm) in height. Leaves are slightly thickened and oblong. Plants bloom profusely in the spring, displaying many attractive, five-petaled pink flowers.


Spring-loving centaury is found on moist to saturated clay soils along the banks of streams or in seepage areas. It is often found growing with the Ash Meadows gumplant (Grindelia fraxinopratensis ), a plant federally listed as threatened.


The only listed Ash Meadows plant taxon not endemic to the area, this plant was formerly more widespread and found along Furnace Creek and around Tecopa Springs in Inyo County, California.

All known populations are restricted to the immediate vicinity of a few springs in Ash Meadows, Nye County, Nevada. The species survives in limited numbers.


The spring-loving centaury is aptly named because it grows close to water, but its preferred habitat has been in decline. Groundwater pumping and stream diversion for irrigation have lowered the water table in Ash Meadows, decreasing flows from the springs and shrinking the size of usable habitat. Peat mining in Carson Slough during the early 1960s destroyed many stands of the plant, and land development for agriculture and municipal facilities have taken other populations.

Conservation and Recovery

Critical habitat was designated for spring-loving centaury to consist of 1840 acres (744.6 hectares) in the Nevada portion of Ash Meadows. About a third of spring-loving centaury's habitat was included in land purchased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. These actions, together with court-imposed restrictions on the pumping of groundwater, should assure conservation of at least a portion of the species' habitat.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N.E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
(503) 231-6121


Broome, C. R. 1981. "A New Variety of Centaurium namophilum (Gentianaceae) from the Great Basin." Great Basin Naturalist 41: 192-197.

Reveal, J. L., C. R. Broome, and J. C. Beatley. 1973."A New Centaurium (Gentianaceae) from the Death Valley Region of Nevada and California." Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 100: 353-356.

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Spring-loving Centaury

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