Page author: David Giblin
Gentianella amarella
northern gentian

Distribution: Across the northern part of Washington on both sides of the Cascades; Alaska to California, east to Minnasota and New Mexico.

Habitat: Moist areas, sea level to mid-elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: June-September

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Annual, Biennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Annual or biennial herbs, usually glabrous throughout, the simple to freely-branched, lightly angled stems 5-40 cm. tall.


Basal leaves several, oblanceolate, 5-40 mm. long; cauline leaves opposite, 5-8 pairs, ovate-lanceolate and clasping-based to lanceolate or oblong-oblanceolate and merely sessile, up to 6 cm. long and 3 cm. broad.


Flowers with pedicels 0.5-20 mm. long subtended by bractlets, usually numerous, flowering from near the base of the stem, on long peduncles from the leaf axils and terminal; calyx about 1/3 to the length of the corolla, 4-5 lobed about 3/4 its length, more deeply on one side, the lobes linear to lanceolate, unequal; corolla violet to blue to pale yellowish, apparently tubular, with 4-5 lobes half the length of the tube with thread-like projections at the base over 1/2 as long; stamens included, attached low in the corolla tube, not winged; ovary superior, without a stipe.


Capsule 1-celled, 2-valved, slightly exceeding the persistent corolla.

Accepted Name:
Gentianella amarella (L.) Börner

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Gentiana amarella L. [HC]
ssp. acuta – northern gentian    Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to Mexico, east to the Rocky Mountains and northern Great Plains.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Gentianella amarella in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Gentianella amarella checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Gentianella amarella atlas page.

CalPhotos: Gentianella amarella photos.

USDA Plants: Gentianella amarella information.

30 photographs:
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