Gentiana villosa

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Gentiana villosa
Gentiana villosa Gil.jpg
Photo taken by Gil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. villosalink title
Binomial name
Gentiana villosa
GENT VILI dist.jpg
Natural range of Gentiana villosa from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: striped gentian

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Dasystephana villosa (Linnaeus) Small; Pneumonanthe villosa (Linnaeus) F.W. Schmidt[1]

Varieties: none[1]


"Annual or perennial herbs. Stems erect, teret, often in clumps. Leaves opposite, entire, sessile to short-petiolate. Flowers solitary or in congested cymes, pedicellate or sessile. Calyx 4-5 lobed, tubular; corolla cleft ½ or less its length, campanulate, funnelform or tubular, lobes the same number as the sepals, often connected with a thin tissue (pleats); stamens 4-5, anthers free, or coherent in a ring around the style; stigmas erect, recurved in age, style short or absent. Capsule laterally compressed, elongate, stipitate; seeds 0.6-2.2 mm long." [2]

"Perennial with thick fleshy roots. Stem strict, ascending to erect, 1.5-5 dm tall. Leaves elliptic, 4-8.5 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, acute to obtuse, base attenuate to cuneate, sessile to short-petiolate. Flowers essentially sessile, solitary or in compact, 3-7 flowered cymes. Calyx 2-3.3 cm long, tube 7-13 mm long, lobes linear to narrowly elliptic, 10-20 mm long, to 3 mm wide, acute, erect to ascending; corolla greenish to yellowish white, usually tinted or striped with purple, funnel form, 3-4.2 cm long, tube 2.5-4 cm long, lobes 5, triangular-ovate, the corolla, anther adherent; stigmas spreading-recurved, style 3-5 mm long. Capsules ellipsoid to oblong, laterally compressed, 1.7-2.5 cm long, stipitate; seeds brown, ellipsoid to oblong, faintly reticulate, 1.1-1.3 mm long." [2]


Gentiana villosa can be found from southeast Pennsylvania west to northern Kentucky and western Tennessee, and south to the Florida panhandle and eastern Louisiana.[1]



Generally, G. villosa grows in sandhill or pocosin ecotones and upland forests.[1] This species has been found in mixed woodlands, secondary, brushy pine-oak upland woods, longleaf pine-turkey oak sand ridges, and hillsides. It has been observed growing in rich, moist, humus in shaded locations.[3] It is considered a characteristic species of the shortleaf pine-oak-hickory habitat found in the Red Hills Region of northern Florida and southern Georgia.[4]

Associated species include Pinus palustris and Quercus laevis.[3]


It generally flowers from late August until November.[1] This plant has been observed to flower from October to November.[3][5]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity. [6]

Fire ecology

Gentiana villosa is found in areas that are repeatedly annually burned.[3][7] It has also been found in areas that are fire-excluded.[8]


It is considered by pollination ecologists to be of special value to bumble bees.[9]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Gentiana villosa is listed as endangered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.[10] It is also presumed extirpated in New Jersey and Washington D.C., and considered vulnerable in Louisiana and Alabama.[11]

Cultural use

In Appalachia, the plant has a variety of uses. It is believed carrying a piece of the plant on one's person increases physical strength. The roots are used to make a tonic tea for anxiety and digestion, and the rhizome can be a treatment for gout, indigestion, rheumatism, and nausea.[12]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: R.K. Godfrey, J. P. Gillespie, A. F. Clewell, R. Kral, Betty Pierce, Gary R. Knight, Rodie White, Richard R. Clinebell II, and R. Komarek. States and Counties: Florida: Jackson, Leon, Liberty, and Madison. Georgia: Grady and Thomas.
  4. Clewell, A. F. (2013). "Prior prevalence of shortleaf pine-oak-hickory woodlands in the Tallahassee red hills." Castanea 78(4): 266-276.
  5. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 17 MAY 2019
  6. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  7. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  8. Clewell, A. F. (2014). "Forest development 44 years after fire exclusion in formerly annually burned oldfield pine woodland, Florida." Castanea 79: 147-167.
  9. [[1]] Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Accessed: May 17, 2019
  10. USDA, NRCS. (2016). The PLANTS Database (, 17 May 2019). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
  11. [[2]] NatureServe Explorer. Accessed: May 17, 2019
  12. Korchmal, Arnold & Connie. 1973. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of the United States. The New York Times Book Company, New York.