Résumé : The Centaurea jacea aggregate is a polymorphic polyploid complex whose taxonomic treatment is still controversial. A numerical taxonomic approach was applied to 394 individuals of known ploidy level, from 19 populations, based on the main diagnostic characters proposed in earlier revisions. Populations from xeric grasslands were not considered. Principal Component Analysis shows that variation within the complex is continuous. UPGMA Cluster Analysis based on population means supports the recognition of three groups of populations. However, the limits between these groups are blurred to a considerable extent due to extensive within-population polymorphism. It is argued that the Belgian populations of Centaurea jacea occurring in mesic grasslands should be treated as a single species, with three subspecies. The two extremes of the morphological gradient can be referred to as C. jacea subsp. jacea and C. jacea subsp. nigra, with C. jacea subsp. pratensis occupying an intermediate position. Most populations from Belgium are tetraploid, a diploid chromosome number being found only in populations of C. jacea subsp. nigra from the Ardennes massif. On average, diploids grow at higher altitude and on more acidic soils than tetraploids. Finally, a key to the three subspecies is provided.