"a big clump of centaury, which was in full flower"
Red centaury
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRed centaury - Credit: Franz Xaver
Illustration of Centaurium erythraea from 'Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (1885) by Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé
Public DomainIllustration of Centaurium erythraea from 'Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (1885) by Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé - Credit: Kurt Stueber

There are twenty different kinds of centaury, all of which belong to the plant group known as Centaurium.

One type of centaury which grows in the Swiss Alps is common centaury whose Latin name is Centaurium erythraea.

It is also known as European centaury, red centaury, and Christ's ladder.

Red centaury has traditionally been used in herbal medicine.