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Gentiana calycosa (Rainier pleated gentian)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Gentiana calycosa

Gentiana calycosa Griseb.

Rainier Pleated Gentian

Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)

Synonym(s): Gentiana calycosa var. obtusiloba, Gentiana calycosa var. xantha, Pneumonanthe calycosa


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The clump of 4-18 inch stems is ever-increasing. Leaves are opposite, about 1 inch long, somewhat oval, and sessile to the stem. Several leafy stems in a clump bear at the top 1-3 blue, broadly funnel-shaped flowers. The light to deep blue, tubular flowers are held erect at the ends of the stems. The blue of the flower is sometimes mottled with green and the inner cup is pale.

Gentians are among the loveliest of mountain wildflowers and are rock-garden favorites. The genus honors King Gentius of Illyria, ruler of an ancient country on the east side of the Adriatic Sea, who is reputed to have discovered medicinal virtues in gentian plants.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Stems decumbent, up to about 18 inches long.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: CA , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: B.C. to n. CA, e. to w. MT & WY
Native Habitat: Moist, alpine or subalpine meadows & stream banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, cool soil.
Conditions Comments: When using this gentian in a garden, conditions matching its wet, cold natural habitat must be met for any succuss.


Warning: All parts of this plant, including the nectar, are poisonous if ingested. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Gentiana calycosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Gentiana calycosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Gentiana calycosa


Record Modified: 2023-04-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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