Gentiana flavida (Yellow Gentian)
|Also known as:||Cream Gentian, Pale Gentian, Plain Gentian|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil; open woods, meadows|
|Bloom season:||August - October|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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The 1½ to 2-inch tubular yellowish white flowers form a stalkless cluster on the end of the stem but several flowers may also be produced in leaf axils in the upper plant. The petal tube faces up, the 5 short toothed lobes barely opening. The petals are covered in greenish yellow venation.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are 2 to 5 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide, broadly rounded or somewhat heart-shaped at the base, tapered to a pointed tip, opposite except for a whorl of leaves just below the terminal flower cluster. The surfaces and edges smooth and glossy with 3 veins underneath, stalkless, the base of leaf pairs often touching. Stems are hairless and mostly unbranched.
Similar to Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) which can sometimes be white but its flowers remain closed, the overlapping flower lobes are rounded with fine teeth at their tips. The leaves on Bottle Gentian are over-all smaller, 3-7 nerved, have rough edges, and the bases of leaf pairs do not touch. Yellow Gentian often goes by Latin name Gentiana alba, but the accepted name in Minnesota is G. flavida.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Whitewater State Park. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Fillmore County and a private garden in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?