|Also known as:||Smaller Fringed Gentian|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil; wet meadows, thickets, stream banks, low woods|
|Bloom season:||August - September|
|Plant height:||3 to 18 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Blooms are singular on slender stalks at the end of the main stem and arising from leaf axils in the upper plant. The trumpet shaped, royal blue to blue-violet flowers are 1 to 2 inches long. with 4 rounded spatula shaped lobes that have short fringe or fine teeth around the edges. The white and blue striped throat is enclosed by 4 unequal sepals, some round and tapered others narrower, lance like. The ridged midline on the sepals extends onto the stalk. Inside the tube are 4 yellow to orangish stamens and a creamy white style. A plant has 1 to 6 flowers, often only 1 blooming at a time.
Leaves are 1 to 1½ inches long, ¼ to 1/3 inch wide, opposite, toothless, hairless, stalkless. Basal and lowest leaves are spatulate or elliptic with rounded tips, upper leaves narrow to linear lance shaped. The erect stems are slender and smooth, unbranched or a few branches narrowly angled to the main stem.
Very similar to Greater Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita), which is a larger plant overall with larger, broader leaves and longer fringing on the petal lobes. Lesser Fringed Gentian more commonly goes by Latin name Gentianopsis virgata (formerly Gentiana procera), but the accepted name in Minnesota is Gentianopsis procera. This species is easy to miss in the wild, as its often spindly, low to the ground and hidden in taller grasses. The spot of bright blue is an eye-catcher for those who are observant.
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Photos taken in Dodge County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?