Downy Gentain (Gentiana puberutenta)


Downy Gentian Gentiana puberutenta Pringle (GENTIAN FAMILY)

Downy gentian is an erect perennial 6-12 in. tall with a glabrous to puberulent stem. The opposite leaves are lanceolate to oblong-ovate, stiff, and with a scabrous margin. The inflorescence is crowded at the summit, forming a cluster in the upper leaf axils. The purple-blue flowers are upright and tubular, the corolla having 2-cleft plicate folds between the lobes. The seed is small, white, and winged. The flowers of downy gentian close toward evening or on cloudy days. The gentian is named in honor of Gentius, King of Illyrica from 180 to 167 B.C., who was thought to be the first to discover its medicinal value. However, the Egyptians apparently used it thousands of years earlier. Its principal use has been in the treatment of bites and stings.