Centaurium pulchellum is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family known by the common name lesser centaury. Plants 4-10(-25) cm tall, glabrous. Stems simple to much branched, obscurely 4angled. Leaves sessile; lower leaves elliptic to ovate-elliptic, 0.6-1.7 cm × 3-6 mm, base rounded, apex obtuse, veins 1-3 and abaxially distinct; upper leaves elliptic-lanceolate, 0.6-2 cm × 2-7 mm, base rounded and nearly clasping, apex acuminate, acute, or mucronate, veins 1-3. Cymes laxly dichotomous or racemose.
Two new triterpene lactones, centauriol (1) and centaurione (2) were isolated from the whole plant of Centauriumpulchellum. Their structures were determined by spectral data. 1-Hydroxy-3,7,8-trimethoxyxanthone, 1,8-dihydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyxanthone and 1,8-dihydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyxanthone have been isolated from the whole plant of Centaurium pulchellum; the compounds were characterized by UV and NMR spectroscopy.