This pretty flower has had my attention for a month or two now. There is a very small patch of them growing along the front fence. In Summer, when hardly any flowers are in bloom, it was a lovely show  for a while.  However, I’ve just identified the plant as an Exotic species, or weed, that is not indigenous to Victoria. While it is a little  disappointing, I now know what to do with them.  As much as possible, we want to sustain the wilder parts of our land with native species to the area.

Centaurium Erithraea

Apparently, this plant can grow to half a meter high, but our plants were only about 15 cm tall.

Centaurium Erithraea 2

Exotic or not, they certainly are pretty flowers. It is good to know they have a medicinal use too, although I don’t think I will try this in a hurry.

In the last six months or so, we’ve learned a little more about the history of our property.  In the 1850’s and 1860’s all of the large trees in our area were logged for building mining shafts,  railway sleepers, and similar expansion projects. So most of our trees are regrowth from this time.  We are supposed to have one mining shaft on our property, but so far we have not been able to identify where this is, as it has been filled in and the entrance covered with timber and heaped up with dirt.   We believe it may be somewhere along the front fence because in our area, this was the primary strip of  land that was mined.  This explains why we have grass at the front and trees down the back.  The cleared land at the front of the property, near the fence, may well have been planted as a garden at some stage, or if not, had exotic seeds tramped in or blown in with all of the activity.  There are other exotics (weeds) in this area too.

All of this information just means there is more to explore!   A quick Google search led me to Wikipedia, which suggests that the Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea) plant is native to Europe, where it is used for medicinal purposes in the form of a tea to treat gastric and liver diseases. It is reputed to have high levels of antioxidants.  Perhaps that is why it was planted here in Australia?