Herbs & Plants

Gentiana thunbergii

Botanical Name :Gentiana thunbergii
Family: Gentianaceae
Order: Gentianales
Tribes: Gentianeae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: Gentiana thunbergii (G.Don) Griseb.

Synonyms : G. japonica. Maxim. G. trinervis.

Common Names: Guangdong, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Shanxi [Japan, Korea]

Habitat :Gentiana thunbergii is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea and Manchuria. It grows on sunny places in lowland and mountains, C. and N. Japan. (1300-1800 m.)

Gentiana thunbergii is an annuals or biennial plant , growing 5-15 cm tall. Stems ascending to erect, few branched from base, glabrous. Basal leaves withered at anthesis; petiole 1-2 mm, glabrous; leaf blade involucriform, ovate-elliptic, ovate, or rarely obovate-oblong, 1-3 × 0.7-2.2 cm, margin cartilaginous and smooth, apex acuminate to rarely rounded, midvein distinct. Stem leaves 3-5 pairs, widely spaced; petiole 1.5-2 mm, entirely connate, glabrous; leaf blade lanceolate to oblong, 6-8 × 1-4.5 mm, shorter than internodes, margin of lower stem leaves narrowly cartilaginous, that of upper stem leaves broadly membranous, apex obtuse, vein 1. Flowers few. Pedicel 2-4 mm, sometimes to 1.2 cm in fruit, glabrous. Calyx narrowly obconic, (6-)8-9 mm; lobes narrowly triangular, 2.5-3 mm, margin membranous, apex acuminate, midvein distinct. Corolla blue, funnelform, (1.2-)1.5-2 cm; lobes ovate, 2-3 mm, margin entire, apex obtuse; plicae broadly oblong, 1-1.5 mm, margin entire or denticulate, apex rounded. Stamens inserted at middle of corolla tube, equal; filaments 2-2.5 mm; anthers ellipsoid, 1.2-1.5 mm. Style 2-2.5 mm; stigma lobes linear-oblong. Capsules narrowly obovoid, 6-8 mm; gynophore to 2.8 cm. Seeds brown, ellipsoid, 1-1.2 mm. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. Iial/biennial t prefers moist soil.

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. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. 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 March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Edible Uses: Young plants and flower buds – cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
The root probably contains various bitter compounds and can be used as a general tonic for the digestive system.

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.

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