downy gentian

(Gentiana puberulenta)

Conservation Status
downy gentian
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N4? - Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Downy gentian is a 8 to 20 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 5 stems from a long, stout taproot

The stems erect or slightly reclining, slightly reddish, and rarely branched. They are densely covered with minute hairs, often in lines on the stem angles.

The leaves are opposite, lance-shaped to linear lance-shaped, firm, ½ to 3 long, and to ¾ wide. They are widest below the middle. They have 1 main vein and 2 smaller lateral veins. The upper surface is green, shiny and hairless. The lower surface is paler green and hairless except for a line of hairs along the base of the midvein. The margins are untoothed and rolled under. The margins are rough to the touch only near the base of the blade with short, rounded, nipple-like bumps or minute, stiff hairs, but they do not have a fringe of minute hairs along the entire margin.

The inflorescence is a cluster of 1 to 10 flowers at the top of the stem and sometimes individual flowers rising on short stalks from the upper leaf axils. There is a pair of large, leaf-like bracts below the terminal inflorescence.

The flowers are 13 16 to 2 long and about 1 wide when fully open.

There are 5 green sepals (calyx) fused at the base into a ¼ to 11 16 long tube, then separated into 5 linear, often leaf-like, to ¾ long, 1 32 to wide lobes. The calyx tube is hairless and the calyx lobes are minutely hairy along the midribs.

There are 5 blue petals alternating with 5 obviously shorter plaits, all fused at the base and for most of their length into a bell shaped, 1 to 23 16 long corolla tube, then separated into 5 lobes. The lobes are egg-shaped, to long, spreading, sometimes bent backwards, shallowly toothed, and abruptly pointed at the tip. The plaits may toothed, fringed, or shallowly split. The base of the corolla tube is whitish with green veins. The remainder of the corolla tube and the corolla lobes are usually bright blue or sometimes pale blue. The outside of the tube is tinged with green and purple. The inside is white with blue stripes. The lobes are solid blue.

In the center of the corolla tube is a pistil with a white, 2-lobed stigma, surrounded by 5 stamens with white filaments and white anthers. The anthers are separate, not fused together.

The fruit is an elliptical, one-chambered capsule with numerous seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

8 to 20

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Blue or white with blue markings

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Pleated gentian (Gentiana affinis) flower is smaller and the lobes of the flower are often unequal in size, sometimes virtually suppressed. The corolla tube is often cleft once or twice, especially when a lobe is suppressed. The corolla lobes have numerous, conspicuous, pale or white spots.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Prairies, upland woods. Limy, sandy soil.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

August to October

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
         
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Gentianales (gentians, dogbanes, madders, and allies)  
 

Family

Gentianaceae (gentian)  
  Tribe Gentianeae  
  Subtribe Gentianinae  
 

Genus

Gentiana (gentian)  
  Section Pneumonanthe  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Gentiana puberula

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

downy gentian

prairie gentian

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Plait

A fold or pleat.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       
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Plant

  downy gentian   downy gentian
       

Inflorescence

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  downy gentian    
       

Flower

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Infructescence

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Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Gentiana puberulenta PRAIRIE GENTIAN
Frank Mayfield
 
  Gentiana puberulenta PRAIRIE GENTIAN  
     
  Gentiana puberulenta
Joshua Mayer
 
  Gentiana puberulenta  
 
About

Downy Gentian

 
     

 

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