Halenia deflexa (American Spurred Gentian)
|Also known as:||Green Gentian|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist woods, mossy conifer forests, bogs|
|Bloom season:||July - August|
|Plant height:||6 to 30 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Clusters of 2 to 9 flowers on square stalks at the top of the plant, whorled around upper leaf axils, and at the end of few branching stems arising from upper leaf axils. Flowers are 1/3 to ½ inch long with 4 petals, each have a tubular spur up to 1/5 inch long, extending back past the sepals, becoming broadly oval above the spur and narrowing to a pointed tip. Blooms are observed mostly closed like a short cone, opening only slightly with petals tips curled out. Color is mostly light green or purplish, especially into the spur. The sepals are green, elliptic, adjoined between the spurs, about half the length of the petals above the spur.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are ¾ to 1½ inches long, ¼ to ½ inch wide, toothless, hairless, and glossy. Basal leaves are oval to spatula shaped, narrowing to a short stalk; stem leaves are broadly rounded at the base, tapering to a sharp point, strongly 3 or 5 veined, mostly stalkless, and widely spaced on the stem. Stems are hairless, square and unbranched or few branched.
The flowers on the Spurred Gentian, like many of the gentians, never fully open. Between the subdued flower color and green of the foliage it is a species easy to pass by in the lush undergrowth of damp woods and bogs. If you manage to notice one, suddenly you see the many around you.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Beltrami and Hubbard counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Cass, Hubbard and Lake counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?