Schenkia australis was previously known under Centaurium spicatum, whose common name is Spike Centaury. Endemic to Australia and widespread on the mainland, although it has been listed in some areas as threatened flora.

It is a small flowering annual or biennial herb, growing between 4 cm to 20 cm in height. Flowering during August through to February, the herb is found in open areas, including damp areas, such as these photographed in the water-filled Ilparpa Claypans, during periods of significant rainfall.

The flower is a bright pink to purple, with a yellow centre. Leaves are mostly elliptic to lanceolate or oblanceolate, approximately 1 – 3 cm long.

Common name
Australian Centaury, Spiked Centaury or Spike Centaury, Native Centaury. Previously classified under Schenkia spicata and Centaurium spicatum.

Our thanks to Alice Springs Desert Park – ASDP / NRETA for assistance with identifying this flora.

This flowering plants was found at the Alice Springs claypans during the month of August/September. It appeared with the mass flowering of other flora.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Asterids
  • Order: Gentianales
  • Family: Gentianaceae
  • Genus: Schenkia
  • Species: S. australis
  • Binomial name: Schenkia australis

Footnote & References

  1. Schenkia australis, VICFLORA, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, (Retrieved 1 December 2020).
  2. Schenkia australis, Ellura Sanctuary, (Retrieved 1 December 2020).
  3. FloraBase, the Western Australian Flora – Schenkia australis, (Retrieved 1 December 2020).
  4. PlantNET, New South Wales Flora Online – Schenkia australis, (Retrieved 1 December 2020).