Gentians

Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana L.

Common Name:  Great yellow gentian

Habitat:This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some species also occur in northwest Africa, eastern Australia and New Zealand. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not.

The Gentians are an extensive group of plants, numbering about 400 species, distributed throughout all climates, though mostly in temperate regions and high mountains, being rare in the Arctic. In South America and New Zealand, the prevailing colour of the flower is red, in Europe blue (yellow and white being of rarer occurrence).

Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae.

The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants. During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting wounds.

Descriptions:
Gentians have opposite leaves that are sometimes arranged in a basal rosette, and trumpet-shaped flowers that are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. Many species also show considerable polymorphism with respect to flower color. Typically, blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes (where bird pollination is probably more heavily favored by natural selection). White-flowered species are scattered throughout the range of the genus but dominate in New Zealand. All gentian species have terminal tubular flowers and most are pentamerous, i.e. with 5 corolla lobes (petals), and 5 sepals, but 4-7 in some species. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla shows folds (= plicae) between the lobes. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.

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Gentians are fully hardy and like full sun or partial shade, and neutral to acid soil that is rich in humus and well drained. They are popular in rock gardens.

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Species:-
Gentiana acaulis (‘Stemless Gentian’)
Gentiana affinis (‘Pleated Gentian’)
Gentiana alba (‘Plain Gentian’)
Gentiana algida (‘Whitish Gentian’)
Gentiana alpina (‘Alpine Gentian’)
Gentiana altaica (‘Altai Gentian’)
Gentiana amarella (‘Autumn Dwarf Gentian’)
Gentiana amoena
Gentiana andrewsii (‘Closed bottle Gentian’)
Gentiana angustifolia
Gentiana asclepiadea (‘Willow Gentian’)
Gentiana austromontana (‘Appalachian Gentian’)
Gentiana autumnalis (‘Pinebarren Gentian’)
Gentiana bavarica (‘Bavarian Gentian’)
Gentiana bellidifolia
Gentiana boryi
Gentiana brachyphylla
Gentiana bulleyana
Gentiana burseri
Gentiana cachemirica
Gentiana calycosa (‘Rainier Pleated Gentian‘)
Gentiana catesbaei (‘Elliott’s Gentian’)
Gentiana cephalantha
Gentiana cerina
Gentiana clausa (‘Bottled Gentian’)
Gentiana clusii (‘Trumpet Gentian‘)
Gentiana crassicaulis
Gentiana crinita (‘Fringed Gentian’)
Gentiana cruciata (‘Cross Gentian’)
Gentiana dahurica
Gentiana decora (‘Showy Gentian’)
Gentiana decumbens
Gentiana dendrologii
Gentiana depressa
Gentiana dinarica
Gentiana douglasiana (‘Swamp Gentian’)
Gentiana elwesii
Gentiana farreri
Gentiana fetisowii
Gentiana flavida (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana freyniana
Gentiana frigida
Gentiana froelichii
Gentiana fremontii (‘Moss Gentian’)
Gentiana gelida
Gentiana gilvo-striata
Gentiana glauca (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana gracilipes
Gentiana grombczewskii
Gentiana heterosepala (‘Autumn Gentian’)
Gentiana hexaphylla
Gentiana kesselringii
Gentiana kurroo
Gentiana lawrencii
Gentiana lhassica
Gentiana linearis (‘Narrowleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana loderi
Gentiana lutea (‘Great Yellow Gentian‘)
Gentiana macrophylla (‘Bigleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana makinoi
Gentiana microdonta
Gentiana newberryi (‘Newberry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana nipponica
Gentiana nivalis (‘Snow Gentian’)

Gentiana nubigena
Gentiana nutans (‘Tundra Gentian’)
Gentiana ochroleuca
Gentiana olivieri
Gentiana ornata
Gentiana pannonica (‘Brown Gentian’)
Gentiana paradoxa
Gentiana parryi (‘Parry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana patula
Gentiana pennelliana (‘Wiregrass Gentian’)
Gentiana phyllocalyx
Gentiana platypetala (‘Broadpetal Gentian’)
Gentiana plurisetosa (‘Bristly Gentian’)
Gentiana pneumonanthe (‘Marsh Gentian’)
Gentiana prolata
Gentiana prostrata (‘Pygmy Gentian’)
Gentiana przewalskii
Gentiana pterocalyx
Gentiana puberulenta (‘Downy Gentian’)
Gentiana pumila
Gentiana punctata (‘Spotted Gentian’)
Gentiana purpurea (‘Purple Gentian’)
Gentiana pyrenaica
Gentiana quadrifolia
Gentiana rigescens
Gentiana rostanii
Gentiana rubricaulis (‘Closed Gentian’)
Gentiana saponaria (‘Harvestbells Gentian’)
Gentiana saxosa
Gentiana scabra
Gentiana scarlatina
Gentiana sceptrum (‘King’s scepter Gentian’)
Gentiana septemfida (‘Crested Gentian’)
Gentiana setigera (‘Mendocino Gentian’)
Gentiana setulifolia
Gentiana sikkimensis
Gentiana sikokiana
Gentiana sino-ornata
Gentiana siphonantha
Gentiana speciosa
Gentiana squarrosa
Gentiana stictantha
Gentiana stragulata
Gentiana straminea
Gentiana tenuifolia
Gentiana terglouensis (‘Triglav Gentian’)
Gentiana ternifolia
Gentiana tianshanica (‘Tienshan Gentian’)
Gentiana trichotoma
Gentiana triflora
Gentiana trinervis
Gentiana tubiflora
Gentiana utriculosa (‘Bladder Gentian’)
Gentiana veitchiorum
Gentiana venusta
Gentiana verna (‘Spring Gentian’)
Gentiana villosa (‘Striped Gentian’)
Gentiana waltonii
Gentiana wutaiensis
Gentiana yakushimensis
Gentiana zollingeri

Click to learn more about Genetians:->..……..(1)(2)

Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This is an easily grown species, succeeding in most good garden soils, though it prefers a light loamy soil and lime-free conditions. It grows well in a pocket of soil amongst paving stones, so long as there is a gritty substrate. Plants dislike growing under the drip from trees. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. It is a rare and protected species in the wild. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early summer after the plant has flowered. Dig up the entire plant, divide it into 2 – 3 fair-sized clumps with a spade or knife, and replant immediately. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring or early summer. It is best to pot them up in a cold frame until well rooted, and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten freckles. This species is one of several species that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties

Click for:-> Gentian species with medicinal properties

Complete Gentian information from Drugs.com
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentian
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+acaulis

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