Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - December 30, 2008

From: Cosby, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Occurrence and uses of Bottle Gentian in the Great Smoky Mountains Nat. Park
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

In mid October of 2008 I was at the Gilliland Cemetery in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cosby, TN. I found several flowers blooming which completely surprised me due to the time of year. I have since learned that they are Bottle Gentian or Closed Bottle Gentian. Many of the sites that I have visited to find out more information about the plant do not show it as being native to Tennessee. My questions are: How rare a wildflower is the Bottle Gentain, and does it have any medicinal or nutritional value? I did manage to get a couple of digital photos.. Thank you for your time attention.

ANSWER:

The Bottle Gentian, Gentiana clausa (bottle gentian), and the Closed Bottle Gentian, Gentiana andrewsii (closed bottle gentian) are two different species. The Closed Bottle Gentian is not found in Tennessee, but the Bottle Gentian is reported in four of the eastern-most counties in the state (Johnson, Carter, Washington, and Unicoi). Gentiana villosa Gentiana villosa (striped gentian) however does occur in Grainger County. It would be helpful  for us to have your photos, so if you would, go to the Plant Identification page and follow the directions there for sending your pictures to us. For more images of these Gentians, click on the name of the plant: Bottle Gentian, Closed Bottle Gentian, and Stripped Gentian.

The Bottle Gentiana is not considered a rare wildflower by the Department of Environment and Conservation of the State of Tennessee (use the helpful Links box on their page). For more information about rare plants, check out the Rare Plant Information Sources of the U.S. Forest Service.

People over the years have used Gentians for a wide variety of purposes, including medicinal uses. The Bottle Gentian isn't used as a medicinal plant, however other Gentians including the  Closed Bottle Gentian, have a long history of medicinal use, ranging from treatment of anorexia to ulcers.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bottle gentian
Gentiana clausa

Closed bottle gentian
Gentiana andrewsii

Striped gentian
Gentiana villosa

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Medicinal plants used on Hispanic ranches
November 25, 2008 - Have you ever heard of a plant, possibly native to Texas or Mexico, called Drago? Or another called Greta? In a book on South Texas ranches after 1850, these are listed as the Spanish names for two ...
view the full question and answer

Growing fruits and vegetables from Holbrook NY
April 06, 2012 - I have been looking for information on what plants, vegetables and fruits can be grown on Long Island NY to provide a sustainable food source for a community in the event of food becoming scarce. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Information on medicinal plant uses by Dakota Indians
November 29, 2006 - I would like to know what the plants were that were used for medicinal purposes by the plains Indians in the Dakotas. Is there a place/site that I can go to to research the data?
view the full question and answer

Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio
May 03, 2006 - Hello there, I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs. If you could h...
view the full question and answer

Plants good for repelling bugs in Austin, TX
April 18, 2007 - I need help on what type of plants or herbs are good for keeping bugs away from the house and also something that would be good for in the house for bugs?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.