Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae. This a large genus, with about 400 species.
This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some species also occur in northwest Africa, eastern Australia and New Zealand. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not.
Gentians have opposite leaves that are sometimes arranged in a basal rosette, and trumpet-shaped flowers that are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. Many species also show considerable polymorphism with respect to flower color. Typically, blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes (where bird pollination is probably more heavily favored by natural selection). White-flowered species are scattered throughout the range of the genus but dominate in New Zealand. All gentian species have terminal tubular flowers and most are pentamerous, i.e. with 5 corolla lobes (petals), and 5 sepals, but 4-7 in some species. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla shows folds (= plicae) between the lobes. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.
Gentians are fully hardy and like full sun or partial shade, and neutral to acid soil that is rich in humus and well drained. They are popular in rock gardens.
Gentiana acaulis (Stemless gentian) is a small gentian native to central and southern Europe from Spain east to the Balkans, growing especially in mountainous regions, such as the Alps, Cevennes and the Pyrenees, at heights of 800 to 3,000 m. It is a perennial plant, growing on acidic soils. Its height is 2 cm and spread is 10 cm or more. The leaves are evergreen, 2-3.5 cm long, in a basal rosette, forming clumps. The trumpet-shaped terminal flowers have a blue colour with olive-green spotted longitudinal throats. They grow on a very short peduncle, 3-6 cm long. The flower stem is often without leaves, or has 1 or 2 pairs of leaves. It likes full sun, is fully hardy and flowers in late spring and summer.
Gentiana prostrata is a rare species of gentian known by the common name pygmy gentian. It is native to Eurasia and to western North America from Alaska and northern Canada to Colorado and California. It is a resident of moist areas in the high mountains. This is an annual herb reaching only a few centimeters tall. The leaves are generally oval-shaped and up to about six millimeters long. They green and sometimes edged in dull white. The solitary flower is about a centimeter wide at the mouth, with triangular or diamond-shaped lobes in shades of deep blue to purple. Between each lobe of the corolla is a sinus appendage with jagged, thready tips. The fruit is a capsule containing wingless seeds.
Gentiana alba (Pale gentian or White gentian or Cream gentian) is a herbaceous species of flowering plant in the Gentian family Gentianaceae, growing from thick white taproots. This species is much like Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) except with an upright habit and yellowish-white colored flowers.
Gentiana parryi (Parry's Gentian)
Gentiana amarella ( the Autumn Gentian)
Gentiana andrewsii (Bottle gentian or Closed gentian) is a herbaceous species of flowering plant in the Gentian family Gentianaceae. Plants are native to North Eastern North America from the Dakotas to the East coast and bloom in late summer (August-October). The flowers are 2 to 4 cm long, typically a rich blue color and bottle shaped with closed mouths. The flowers are clustered at the top of the plant or in the axis of the top leaves. The stems are 30 to 60 cm long, lax in habit, producing sprawling plants with upturned ends ending with clusters of bee pollinated flowers. The foliage is hairless with a glossy sheen to it. Plants are feed upon by ground hogs and scale insects. This species can hybridize with Gentiana alba, producing upright growing plants with white flowers with blue edges. The Closed or Bottle gentian is considered a threatened species in the USA states of New England, New York and Maryland.
Gentiana asclepiadea ( the Willow Gentian)
Gentiana plurisetosa is a rare species of gentian known by the common names Klamath gentian and bristly gentian. It is native to southern Oregon and northern California, where it is an uncommon resident of wet mountain habitat. This is a perennial herb growing two or more stems which may lie close to the ground or grow erect up to 40 centimeters. Leaves are distributed evenly along the stems and are generally round to oval-shaped and sometimes pointed, up to six centimeters long and half as wide. Flowers are solitary or appear in bunched inflorescences of up to five. Each flower is bright deep blue, up to 5 centimeters long and 3 wide at the mouth, with frilly, thready corolla lobes. The fruit is a capsule containing winged seeds.
Gentiana calycosa - The herbaceous perennial plant Gentiana calycosa is a species of gentian known by the common name Rainier pleated gentian. It is native to the mid-elevation mountains of the western United States and Canada from the Sierra Nevada of California to the Canadian Cascades. The flower is a funnel-shaped cup opening into a five-petaled face 3 to 5 centimeters wide, in shades of deep blue to purple. The plant has hardy, thick green leaves on the thin red stems from which the flowers are borne. Like other gentians, Gentiana calycosa is an attractive mountain wildflower good for use in alpine gardens.
Gentiana lutea (Great Yellow Gentian) is a species of gentian native to the mountains of central and southern Europe. Other names include 'Yellow Gentian', 'Bitter Root', 'Bitterwort', 'Centiyane', and 'Genciana'. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 1-2 m tall, with broad lanceolate to elliptic leaves 10-30 cm long and 4-12 cm broad. The flowers are yellow, with the corolla separated nearly to the base into 5-7 narrow petals. It grows in grassy alpine and sub-alpine pastures, usually on calcareous soils. It is remarkable for the intensely bitter properties residing in the root and every part of the herbage, hence they are valuable tonic medicines. The root is the principal vegetable bitter employed in medicine, though the roots of several other species are said to be equally efficacious. Before the introduction of hops, Gentian, with many other bitter herbs, was used occasionally in brewing. It is a principal ingredient in Angostura bitters. The medicinal parts are the dried, underground parts of the plant and the fresh, above-ground parts. Its name derives from Gentius, King of Illyria (180-167 BC) who discovered the plant's healing value. It was used in the Middle Ages as an antidote to certain poisons.
Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness.
Its blossoms are a lot like the Amnara Senczaina flowertips: a pale creamy, icy color and white/hazel tipped. They sometimes have red spots on the inner side, and plants with these are said to ease breathe if cooked and vapors are smelt.
It was considered especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It was also considered one of the best fortifiers of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and was thought to be an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects.
Gentiana clausa (Bottle Gentian)
Closed Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)
Bottle Gentian (Gentiana clausa)
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