The Gentiana genus, also known as Gentian, is considered a large genus with around 400 species. It was thought to be named after Gentius, King of Illyria (present-day Albania), who was the first to use this plant medicinally. Some varieties are harvested commercially for use in aperitif wines, liqueurs and tonics.
The trumpet-shaped flowers usually come in shades of violet and purple, which grow from short stalks. They grow primarily on grassland and can also be grown between shrubs, but care should be taken that they do not become overwhelmed.
Most species of Gentiana can be found growing in temperate alpine climates, particularly in Europe and Asia. They are also found in parts of the Americas and Australasia.
An autumn flower, Gentiana can be found at any time between September and November, but they can sometimes thrive during mild winters or late summer.
The two most notable species are the Sino-ornata and the Gentiana Septemfida. Both thrive in the autumn months, but they have notable differences.
While both grow on grassland, the former has short stalks while the latter has longer ones. Both species can grow as tall as 20cm. Gentiana Septemfida is a woodland plant which complements other, more vivid plants.
Ideally, they need to be planted between March and May for them to bloom in full by autumn. The Sino-ornata species is, unlike its relatives, quite easy to grow, as it doesn’t need as much sunlight. Lime free soil is seen as a must for growing.
Did You Know?
The Sino-ornata species was given the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The roots are used medicinally to treat weak or underactive digestive systems and also as anti-flammatory medicine