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This page is maintained 
by Dr. Lena Struwe 
(e-mail), and hosted by
Rutgers University
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updated: 01/19/11 

Gentiana lutea 
(Gentianaceae: Gentianeae: Gentianinae: Gentiana: Gentiana lutea)

Common name: yellow gentian

Latin name and synonyms: Gentiana lutea L.

Distribution: The plant is common in mountainous regions of Europe, including the Alps, Jura, Massif Central, and Pyrenees.

Habitat:  It grows at rather low elevation in alpine meadows, and blossoms from July to August.

Characteristics: Perennial herb with large tap root and at least up to 1 m tall.  Leaves large and deeply veined, in basal rosette until flowering. Flowers in terminal and axillary clusters, each cluster with a large leaf below it.  Corolla deeply divided, yellow (petals nearly free), and not with folds (plicae) between lobes. 

Economic uses:  This species is commonly used for medicinal purposes and to flavor alcoholic drinks (bitters). The root is harvested by digging up whole plants. Gentianae Radix is the pharmaceutical name of the root of Gentiana lutea. (see comic)

Notes: This is one of the few species in Gentiana that has rotate (very deeply divided) corollas and no glandular disk at the base of the ovary. It is also the type species of the genus Gentiana, despite its atypical flowers.


From: Zorn (1790) Medicinal Botany
 

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Text:  Lena Struwe, 2003
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Gentian Research Network, 2002-2011.
For corrections and additions, contact Lena Struwe at struwe@aesop.rutgers.edu