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Arctic Gentian, Whitish Gentian - Gentiana algida


Family: Gentianaceae - Gentian family Genus Common Name: Gentian Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Gentiana algida - Arctic Gentian, Whitish Gentian. Gentiana is a large genus of more than 350 species worldwide, with over 30 species found in North America. It is named after Gentius, the last king of Illyria (which was the region of the western Balkans) before its conquest by Rome in 168 BC. Gentius reportedly discovered the medicinal value of Gentians (specifically Gentiana lutea.).

While the distribution of Gentiana algida is not wide in the United States - found only at high altitudes in the Rockies and in much of Alaska (as well as alpine and subalpine meadows and bogs of eastern Asia and Yukon Territory of Canada) - it can be locally abundant in alpine meadows in those areas where it is found.

Found in:
AK, CO, MT, NM, UT, WY

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Gentiana algida

Distribution of Gentiana algida in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 23 Sep 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, CO Date: 2016-August-26Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The corolla lobes of Gentiana algida are pale yellow to a pale yellow-green with blue stripes toward the tips, with pleats between the lobes (plicae.) Note that the absence of plicae differentiate Gentiana from Gentianopsis species.
Gentiana algida

Site: Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, CO Date: 2016-August-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The lovely flowers of Arctic Gentian are among those Gentians that open. In this photo it exposes the interior, showing the blue spots on the corolla lobes and plicae, and the pink anthers surrounding the yellow stigma. The anthers will fade with age as the stigma splits along its vertically linear divide.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Gentiana algida

Site: Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, CO Date: 2016-August-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The flowers are bell or funnel shaped when opened. It blooms in late summer.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Gentiana algida

Site: Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, CO Date: 2016-August-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
While there is a dense rosette of basal leaves, there are also 1 to 3 pairs of caudle leaves on the plant, which grows to about 8 inches tall.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Gentiana algida

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer