downy gentian

(Gentiana puberulenta)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

downy gentian

NatureServe

N4? - Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

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

Flowering

August to October

     
Flower Color

Blue or white with blue markings

     
Height

8 to 20

     

Identification

This 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.

 
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.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Gentianaceae (gentian)

 

Tribe:

Gentianeae

 

Subtribe:

Gentianinae

 
Synonyms

Gentiana puberula

 
Common
Names

downy gentian

prairie gentian


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

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

 

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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