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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Gentiana andrewsii Griseb.
Closed bottle gentian, Closed gentian, Bottle gentian
USDA Symbol: GEAN
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Closed bottle gentian is a 1-2 ft. plant with narrow, purplish leaves whorled or opposite below clusters of purple flowers which stay closed. Dark blue, bottle-like, cylindrical flowers, nearly closed at tips, in tight clusters atop stem and sometimes in axils of upper leaves. Robust plants may have two whorls of flowers. When in full bloom, the flower looks like a bud about to open.
This is one of our most common perennial gentians and the easiest to grow in a moist wildflower garden. Other bottle gentians include a very similar species, Blind Gentian (G. clausa), in which the bands are not longer than the petals. Narrow-leaved Gentian (G. linearis), which occurs chiefly in the north and in the mountains as far south as West Virginia, has very narrow leaves and open flowers. The flowers of Soapwort Gentian (G. saponaria) are light blue and slightly open at the tip; this midwestern species has soapy juice. Stiff Gentian (Gentianella quinquefolia), an annual, has light blue or lilac, open flowers with bristle-pointed, fringeless lobes and a 4-sided stem; it occurs from southwestern Maine south to Florida and from southern Ontario to Missouri, Louisiana, and southern Tennessee.
The Gentians are named after King Gentius of ancient Illyria, who is said to have discovered the medicinal value of these plants.
Only large bees strong enough to force the corolla open crawl inside to sip nectar and deposit pollen.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Size Notes:
1 to 2 feet tall Leaf:
Flowers 1.5 inches long
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
White , Blue , Purple Bloom Time:
Aug , Sep , Oct Bloom Notes:
Can bloom until frost. The petals never open so the flower
looks like a bud.
, WV Canada: MB
, SK Native Distribution:
W. Que. to Man., s. to NJ, OH, KY,
& n.c. CO Native Habitat:
Moist, shaded sites; meadows; damp prairies; shores
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Humus-rich, slightly acidic, sandy loam. Tolerant of lime.
Conditions Comments: Plant in soil that is not too acidic and maintain moisture throughout the growing season, without letting soil get soggy.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Unusual flowers add a subtle touch of color
Use Wildlife: Bees and bumblebees attracted
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed or divisions of the root crown. Divide root crowns in fall or early spring and plant 1 ft. apart. Germination of seed requires stratification and exposure to light. Scatter seeds on growing medium – do not scratch in – and cover. Said to be difficult to establish.
Seed Collection: Collect in Oct. and Nov.
Seed Treatment: Stratify 3 months at 40 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Young plants may need protection from herbivores. Plant tends to lean at maturity, so plant among sturdier plants for support.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native wildflowers for Northern Indiana
May 08, 2007
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
on Saturday April 21. What a beautiful place. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was
wondering how I could find out w...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Hinton, WVAmerican Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, ORMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff