Spotted knapweed – Centaurea stoebe

Spotted knapweed

Centaurea stoebe L. ssp. micranthos (Gugler) Hayek
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Life cycle
Biennial or short-lived perennial.

First-year leaves originate from a basal rosette,followed by a flowering stem in the second year. Basal leaves are deeply and irregularly lobed on long stalks; stem leaves are alternate and finely dissected. Leaves are grayish green and roughly hairy.

Erect, wiry stems elongate during the second year, up to 6 feet tall with multiple branching. Stems are roughly hairy and often green to purple-striped.

Flowers and fruit
Terminal and axillary heads consist of purple to pink disk flowers above encircled by distinctly black-tipped bracts below. The seed is enclosed in a single-seeded, olive-green to brown fruit with a bristly pappus that can attach to animals for transport.


Spotted knapweed flower
Spotted knapweed rosette
Spotted knapweed leaf
Spotted knapweed stem

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