Gentians are hairless herbs with a bitter, clear sap, found mostly at higher elevations or in alpine areas. The flowers are regular, most of the genera have a tubular corolla, usually with 4 or 5 lobes at the mouth. There are as many stamens as corolla lobes. The stamens are attached to the corolla, alternating with the lobes. A few genera have spreading petals that appear to be separate. The fruit is a capsule, opening by valves and containing many seeds. Members of Gentianaceae have opposite leaves, attached directly to the stem. The family has a total of about 74 genera and 1200 species worldwide, most occurring in temperate regions or at high altitude in the tropics.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the Gentian Family
FLOWERS WITH 5 JOINED PETALS (LOBES)
Gentiana algida Arctic Gentian Tufted perennial, 5-20 cm tall. Moist but well-drained sites in the alpine zone.
Flowers white with purple edges, tubular, with 5 lobes, about 4-5 cm long.
Basal leaves lance-shaped, 4-12 cm long. Stem leaves opposite, 3-5 cm long.
Gentiana calycosa Mountain Bog Gentian Perennial, 5-30 cm tall. Meadows and swamps, montane to alpine zone.
Flowers are blue, tubular, with 5 lobes, about 3-4 cm long, solitary or 3 together.
Leaves opposite, 1-2.5 cm long, heart- to egg-shaped, blunt-tipped.
Gentianella amarella Northern Gentian Slender annual, 5-40 cm tall. Meadows and moist areas, foothills to alpine.
Flowers purple to bluish, 1-2 cm long, with 4-5 pointed lobes and fringed throats.
Leaves basal and opposite, lance-shaped, up to 6 cm long and 3 cm broad.