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Genus Gentianella Family Gentianaceae

Synonyms: Chionogentias APNI*

Description: Annual or biennial herbs, branched mainly from the basal rosette.

Leaves usually in rosettes, rarely opposite, sessile or petiolate, entire, narrow-elliptic to elliptic, linear.

Inflorescence of single or multiple spikes. Flowers cup-shaped, mostly 5-merous; sepals scarcely fused at base and uneven in length and width; petals white and overlapping in bud. Stamens alternating with the petals; filaments scarcely fused to the corolla tube; anthers versatile. Ovary 1-locular; ovules in 4 equal rows; style absent, stigmas bivalved.

Capsule septicidal at the mouth, dry, brown, and leathery when seeds are ripe. Seeds spherical, pale to dark brown, densely rugose.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 200 species, northern & southern temperate regions, except Africa. Australia: 12 species, N.S.W., Vic., Tas., S.A.

Usually found in alpine areas.

Text by G. J. Harden; updated Louisa Murray (Nov 2012)
Taxon concept: David Glenny (2004): A revision of the genus Gentianella in New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Botany, 42:3, 361-530

 Key to the species 
1Pedicels subfiliform, mostly < 0.8 mm diameter when fresh, 0.3–0.5 mm when dry;calyx lobes rarely > 7 mm, the apices narrow-acute, acuminate or subulate, often spreading or ± recurved, at least in bud, if ± erect then plants mainly flowering in early summer2
Pedicels usually not subfiliform, mostly 0.8–1 mm diameter when fresh, 0.5 mm or more dried; calyx lobes otherwise, the apices not or hardly spreading, if narrow acute then lobes up to 12 mm long and plants mainly flowering mid to late summer or early autumn3
2Terminal inflorescence not subcorymbose, usually 5–7-flowered; seeds pale to greyish-orangeGentianella polysperes
Terminal inflorescence mostly 12–25 flowered; seeds light to dark olive-brown
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Gentianella sylvicola
3Stems usually 15–25 cm high; anthers 2.3–3 mm long; plants sometimes flowering more than once (remnants of previous years inflorescence sometimes apparent)Gentianella muelleriana
Stems 25–55 cm high; anthers 1.7–2 mm long; plants flowering only once
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4
4Basal leaves linear-oblanceolate to oblanceolate, 6–15 mm wideGentianella cunninghamii
Basal leaves narrow-oblanceolate, 3–7 mm wide
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Gentianella barringtonensis

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