Gentiana saponaria (Soapwort Gentian)

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913.  An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 11. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society. Scanned by Omnitek Inc.

Where Commonly Found:    Not common, but prefers moist to mesic sandy forest, prairies and thickets.  Rarely in disturbed areas.

How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).

Illinois Wildflower’s description of Gentiana saponaria  Click on more images.

Flower Color:  Variable, pale to medium blue-violet, often with streaks of purple, green or white.
Flower Type:  
Tubular, 1.5″ long and closed, or nearly, at the top, 5 lobes.  Lanceolate, erect, lobes of calyx under the flowers, slightly leaning outward and not recurved.  Flowers develop from the leave axils with most at the stem apex.
Flower Time:  Late summer to fall, lasting about a month.
Leaf Arrangement:  Opposite
Leaf Type:  Simple, narrowly ovate to elliptic and sessile with smooth margins, 3.5″ long and 1/5″ wide.  Upper surfaces are medium to dark green, shiny, with a prominent central vein.  Hairless leaves.
Height: .5′- 2′
Seed Collection:  Seed capsule splits into two sections,  many small seeds that can be dispersed by wind or water.  AS THIS PLANT IS RARE OR ENDANGERED IN PARTS OF OUR REGION PLEASE FOLLOW GUIDELINES BY THE CENTER FOR PLANT CONSERVATION.

Attracts:  Bees, beetles.
Use:  Partly sunny woodland garden along sunny edge, bog garden.
Light:  Full to part sun.
Hardiness Zone:  5 – 9 USDA Zone Map
Soils:  Moist to Wet
Notes:  Gentiana saponaria (Soapwort Gentian) does not occur in the New England states and is rare in NY, somewhat difficult to distinguish from G. andrewsii which tends to have outward curling calyx and generally wider leaves.
Native to:  RARE AND/OR ENDANGERED TO  a few counties in NY, native to much of the Mid-Atlantic, South and Midwest.  Biota of North American Program, North American Plant Atlas.

Requested by Bronx River Wildflower Corridor, Roseanne Andrade.

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