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Centranthus ruber

Centranthus ruber is also known as Red Valerian, Fox’s Brush, Devil’s Beard, Jupiter’s Beard, Spur Valerian and Kiss me Quick. It is a woody perennial. It is a clump-forming, sub-shrub. It is part of the Caprifoliaceae family of plants. It is native to the Mediterranean region.

Centranthus ruber should not be confused with true Valerian or Valeriana officinalis which is used for medicinal purposes. Centranthus ruber can be invasive.

Centranthus ruber
Centranthus ruber

The types of leaves vary depending on where they are on the plant. Centranthus ruber base leaves are petiolate. The upper leaves are sessile. They are all opposite and oval.

The Centranthus ruber flowers are small. They are funnel-shaped, and reddish-pink. The petals are fused. They appear in a rounded cluster. The flower color can range from purplish-pink to crimson red. Though Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’ has white flowers.

Centranthus ruber flowers in the summer and continues into autumn. The flowers attract bees, butterflies. The insects also help pollinate the plant. Centranthus ruber tolerates alkaline. It even grows on walls.

Centranthus ruber
Centranthus ruber in Los Angeles, Calfornia

Centranthus ruber is edible. The leaves are sometimes used in salads. They also eat them boiled. The root is made into soups.

Grow Centranthus ruber in the sun. Plant it in poor to the moderately fertile soil. It prefers chalky soil. Centranthus ruber is drought resistant. It is low maintenance. Propagate by seed in springtime. It is a self-seeding. To prevent it from self-seeding you can cut it down after flowering. Centranthus ruber is generally disease-free and pest-free.

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I am a flower enthusiast and a gardener at heart. Ever since childhood I loved reading about plants and started gardening at an early age. First by helping my father in the garden and later managing a large garden myself in my teen years. I planted and cared for a large number of plants, flowers, and trees both outdoors and in a greenhouse. To this day I enjoy visiting gardens and parks and learning about new and old specimens and varieties of plants.

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