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Encyclopedia > Gentiana

Stemless gentian (Gentiana acaulis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana

See text

Gentian is the common name for the genus Gentiana L. 1753, belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae. This a large genus, with some 400 species.

This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habiatas of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and North America. Some species occur in norhtwest Africa, eastern Australia and the Andes. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergeen, others are not.

Gentiana frigida

Their leaves are arranged in an opposite way. Most of them belong to a basal rosette.

Gentians are grown for their attractive, trumpet-shaped flowers which are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. These terminal tubular flowers are mostly 5-merous, i.e. with 5 petals and 5 sepals. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla show 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. Gentian is used as a flavouring, for example in bitters, and the soft drink "Moxie" which contains "Gentian Root Extractives".

Gentian on Austrian € 0.01 coin
Gentian on
€ 0.01 coin

Gentians are popular in rock gardens. Some varieties are of medicinal use and their roots were harvested for the manufacture of tonic liquor, for instance in France "Suze" or similar liquors.

According to Pliny the Elder Gentian is named after Gentius (180-68 BC), the King of Illyria, said to have discovered its healing properties.


Closed Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)
  • Gentiana acaulis 'Rannoch': Stemless Gentian
  • Gentiana acaulis
  • Gentiana affinis : Biglow Gentian, Pleated Gentian
    • Gentiana affinis var. parvidentata : Small-toothed Pleated Gentian
  • Gentiana alba : Yellow Gentian, Plain Gentian
  • Gentiana algida ; Arctic Gentian, Whitish Gentian, White Gentian
  • Gentiana alpina
Rainier Pleated Gentian (Gentiana calycosa)
  • Gentiana amarella : Northern Gentian, Autumn Gentian, Felwort
  • Gentiana andrewsii : Bottle Gentian, Closed Gentian, Closed Bottle Gentian
    • Gentiana andrewsii var. andrewsii : Closed Bottle Gentian
    • Gentiana andrewsii var. dakotica : Dakota Gentian
  • Gentiana asclepiadea : Milkweed Gentian
  • Gentiana austromontana : Appalachian Gentian, Blue Ridge Gentian.
  • Gentiana autumnalis : One-flowered Gentian, Pine-Barren Gentian
  • Gentiana bavarica
  • Gentiana bellidifolia
  • Gentiana calycosa : Explorer's Gentian, Bog Gentian, Mountain Gentian, Rainier PLeated Gentian.
  • Gentiana cafesbaei : Coastal Plain Gentian, Elliott's Gentian
Bottle Gentian (Gentiana clausa)
  • Gentiana campestris
  • Gentiana ciliata
  • Gentiana clausa : Bottle Gentian, Meadow Closed Gentian
  • Gentiana clusii : Trumpet Gentian
  • Gentiana cruciata : Cross Gentian
  • Gentiana decora : Appalachian Gentian, Showy Gentian
  • Gentiana detonsa : Fringed Gentian
  • Gentiana dinarica
  • Gentiana douglasiana : Swamp Gentian
  • Gentiana farreri
  • Gentiana flavida : Pale Gentian
Parry's Gentian (Gentiana parryi)
  • Gentiana frigida
  • Gentiana fremonti  : Moss Gentian
  • Gentiana froelichii
  • Gentiana germanica
  • Gentiana glauca : Pale Gentian
  • Gentiana heterosepala : Autumn Gentian
  • Gentiana holopetala : Tufted Gentian
  • Gentiana hybrida
  • Gentiana linearis : Narrow-leaf Gentian
  • Gentiana lutea : Great Yellow Gentian, Pale Gentian, Bitterroot, Bitterwort.
  • Gentiana macrophylla : Bigleaf Gentian
  • Gentiana newberryi : Alpine Gentian
    • Gentiana newberryi var. newberryi : Newberry's Alpine Gentian
    • Gentiana newberryi var. tiogana : Tioga Gentian
  • Gentiana nivalis : Snow Gentian
Great Yellow Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
Great Yellow Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
  • Gentiana nutans : Tundra Gentian
  • Gentiana pannonica : Brown Gentian
  • Gentiana paradoxa
  • Gentiana parryi : Parry's Gentian
  • Gentiana pennelliana : Wiregrass Gentian
  • Gentiana platypetala : Broad-petal Gentian
  • Gentiana plurisetosa : Bristly Gentian, Klamath Gentian
  • Gentiana pneumonanthe : Marsh Gentian
  • Gentiana prostrata : Pygmy Gentian
  • Gentiana puberulenta : Downy Gentian, Prairie Gentian.
  • Gentiana punctata : Spotted Gentian
  • Gentiana purpurea
  • Gentiana pyrenaica
  • Gentiana rubricaulis : Closed Gentian, Great Lakes Gentian
Crested Gentian (Gentiana septemfida)
Crested Gentian (Gentiana septemfida)
  • Gentiana saponaria : Bottle Gentian, Harvestbells, Soapwort Gentian
  • Gentiana scabra
  • Gentiana sceptrum : King's-scepter Gentian.
  • Gentiana septemfida : Crested Gentian
  • Gentiana setigera : Mendocino Gentian
  • Gentiana sino-ornata
  • Gentiana thermalis : Rocky Mountain Gentian
  • Gentiana utriculosa
  • Gentiana verna : Spring Gentian
  • Gentiana villosa : Striped Gentian


Gentian Research Network (http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~struwe/gentnet/index.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
Gentiana (614 words)
Gentiana lutea is the source of the old herbal Gentianae Radix and is used to flavor many alcoholic beverages in Europe.
Notes: Gentiana differs from Gentianella in that it has plicae (thin folds between corolla lobes), intracalycine membrane on the calyx (thinner areas between the calyx lobes), a disk at the base of the ovary, and no nectaries on the petals.
Gentiana (Gentianaceae) inferred from nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA.
Gentiana - definition of Gentiana in Encyclopedia (344 words)
Gentiana amarella : Northern Gentian, Autumn Gentian, Felwort
Gentiana calycosa : Explorer's Gentian, Bog Gentian, Mountain Gentian, Rainier PLeated Gentian.
Gentiana cafesbaei : Coastal Plain Gentian, Elliott's Gentian
  More results at FactBites »



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