Mountain Pink

Centaurium beyrichii



Two main species of Centaurium are found in Texas, both annual or biennial plants of the gentian family. The species grow to about 1 foot tall with many to few blossoms forming a rounded mass (C. beyrichii) or loose cluster (C. calycosum). The leaves are simple, opposite each other on the stem and attached directly to it. Pink flowers shaped like a five-pointed star are produced in late spring through summer.


C. beyrichii is found in North Central to West Texas and into Arkansas; C. calycosum grows in Central and West Texas to Missouri west to Utah, Nevada and Arizona. The main difference between these two species is their habitat. C. beyrichii usually grows in sun on dry, rocky limestone hills or in seeps on granite. It is most common in the Edwards Plateau. C. calycosum normally grows in moist habitats.

Toxic Agent

The toxic principle of the Centaurium spp. is unknown. The plant is suspected to be poisonous to cattle, sheep and goats. Feeding of mountain pink produced illness in five goats; of those, four died. one of two sheep became ill. The toxic dose is estimated to be between 0.5 and 1 percent of the animal's body weight consumed daily for several days. The plant was suspected of causing the death of bighorn sheep on the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County.

Signs of Livestock Ingestion

Affected animals exhibit: Loss of appetite; Signs of abdominal pain; Diarrhea.

Examination after death may reveal damaged tissue containing blood in the liver and kidney, and severe ulcers and inflammation in the rumen and abomasum.

Management Strategies

Mountain pink is relatively unpalatable to grazing livestock. Good grazing management practices that improve range condition can help reduce consumption of the plant. Offer adequate mineral and nutritional supplements. Herbicides usually are unwarranted for minimizing toxicity problems from mountain pink.