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This page is maintained 
by Dr. Lena Struwe 
(e-mail), and hosted by
Rutgers University


updated: 01/19/11 

Endangered gentians:
vulnerable, threatened and endangered species


Many gentians are endangered in many countries.  Some species are only rare in certain parts of their distribution area, whereas others only occurs in a very small geographic area that is under a distinct threat and therefore are rare. Habitat loss is the major threat to gentians. For example, grazed meadows disappear in northern Europe, rainforests are cut down in the tropics, and native habitats are destroyed when cities and suburbs spread.  Some gentians are also becoming rare because of over-collecting in the wild, often for pharmacological purposes.


Gentians are usually not close to extinction because they are picked by people, but because they no longer have the right place to live.  But do not dig up gentians or try to transplant them into your garden.  Many gentians only live for a year or two and most have connections to the fungi in the soil (mycorrhizae) that they need to survive.


The list below of endangered gentians is not complete, and we will add species from countries as we build this web site.  Keep in mind that some gentians are only endangered in parts of their area. For tropical gentians, many are severely endangered but many countries do not keep lists of endangered species so they are not officially listed or we don't know about different species to make risk assessments. If you work with gentians and know of species at risk, please contact us so we can list them here to draw attention to them.


The three words vulnerable, threatened, and endangered are usually used for an increased risk of extinction. Be aware that criteria and definitions sometimes differ between different authorities and countries. The often used definitions are:

vulnerable = facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future (= might die out in the future)

threatened = likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (= likely will die out in the near future)

endangered = in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range (= at risk to die out right now)

See also IUCN's definitions


Another ranking system is:

Rank Descriptor
A range between 2 of the numeric ranks. Denotes uncertainty about the exact rarity of the element.
Species not yet ranked globally.
Critically Imperiled
Typically 5 or fewer occurrences or very few individuals remaining.
Six to 20 occurrences or few individuals or acres occurring.
Twenty-one to 100 occurrences.
More than 100 occurrences.
Widespread, secure, and abundant.
Element occurred historically. Not verified in last 20 years.
Possibly imperiled, but status uncertain. More information needed.
Believed to be extinct globally.


NatureServe uses a similar ranking:

1 = critically imperiled (is listed as endangered in the table below)
2 = imperiled
(is listed as threathened in the table below)
3 = vulnerable to extirpation or extinction
(not listed in the table below)

In northern Europe there has been several studies and experiments of how to restore and help endangered gentian species such as Gentiana pneumonanthe, a species that grows in wet meadows. A rare butterfly, the alcon blue, is dependent on this gentian to survive because its larvae feeds on the gentian.  This is just one example how the extinction of one species can lead to the extinction of other species.


This table present gentian species that are threatened.  Vulnerable species are not listed here, but are also under threat. Geographic names are linked to local web sites, if available. Since species can have different status in different areas of their range, bold type is used to indicate areas where a species is officially red-listed  (i.e. endangered, imperiled, or threatened), and non-bold type indicate distribution areas where the species is not yet listed or it occurs but are not at risk. In some countries gentians are legally protected and it is illegal there to dig them up, take seeds, or destroy their habitats.


Species Protected Endangered Threatened Notes
Bartonia paniculata (twining screwstem)   USA: IL    
Bartonia texana (Texas screwstem) (USDA)       imperiled globally, endemic to Texas (USA)
Bartonia virginica (yellow screwstem, virginia bartonia) (CT)   USA: MI USA: KY  
Centaurium erythraea (centaury) Sweden      
Centaurium littorale Sweden      
Centaurium namophilum (spring-loving centaury)     USA:CA, NV imperiled globally, endemic to California and Nevada (USA)
Centaurium tenuiflorum
(slender centaury)
Centaurium sebaeoides (Awiwi) (FWS, IUCN Red List)   USA: Hawaii, red-listed as critically endangered by IUCN   imperiled globally, endemic to Hawaii (USA)
Exacum courtallense var. courtallens       Vulnerable in Western Ghats (India)
Exacum courtallense var. laxiflorum   India: Western Ghats    
Frasera caroliniensis (columbo)   USA: SC    
Frasera coloradensis (Colorado green gentian) (CPC, NatureServe)   USA: CO   imperiled or rare globally, endemic to Colorado (USA)
Frasera gypsicola (Sunnyside green gentian)     USA: NV critically imperiled globally, endemic to Nevada and Utah (USA)
Gentiana andrewsii (Andrews's Bottle Gentian) (link) USA: MA, MD
Gentiana alba (yellowish gentian, sometimes included in Gentiana flavida)   Canada USA: WI  
Gentiana autumnalis (Pine Barren gentian)     USA: SC  
Gentiana flavida (yellow gentian, white gentian)   USA: KY, MI   G4
Gentiana linearis (narrow-leaved gentian)     USA: MI G4G5
Gentiana nivalis (alpine gentian) UK      
Gentiana pennelliana (wiregrass gentian)   USA: FL    
Gentiana pneumonanthe Sweden      
Gentiana puberulenta (prairie gentian, downy gentian)   USA: KY, MI   G4G5
Gentiana purpurea Sweden      
Gentiana quinquefolia (stiff gentian)     USA: MI G5
Gentiana saponaria (soapwort gentian)       G5
Gentiana setigera (elegant gentian)     USA: MI imperiled globally, endemic to CA and OR (USA)
Gentiana verna (spring gentian) UK      
Gentiana villosa (striped gentian)   USA: IN, MA, MD, OH, PA    
Gentianella amarella Sweden      
Gentianella anglica (early gentian) UK      
Gentianella aurea Sweden      
Gentianella baltica Norway Norway    
Gentianella campestris var. islandica Sweden      
Gentianella (Gentiana) quinquefolia (stiff gentian) (CT)   US: CT, MD    
Gentianella uliginosa (dune gentian) Norway, Sweden      
Gentianella wislizeni
(Chiricahua gentian)
      imperiled globally, endemic to Arizona (USA)
Gentianopsis (Gentiana, Gentianella) ciliata (fringed gentian) UK UK    
Gentianopsis (Gentiana) crinita (greater fringed gentian, fringed gentian) (link, CT, GA, GA2, IL)   USA: GA, MD, NC, ND, VI USA: GA, NH, RD for ranking in different states of the US, see link
Gentianopsis procera (fringed gentian)   USA: NY    
Gentianopsis victorinii (Victorin's gentian)       imperiled globally, of Special Concern in Canada,  endemic to Quebec (Canada)
Halenia deflexa (spurred gentian) (MA)   USA: MA, NY USA: NY  
Sabatia angularis (rose pink)   USA: NY    
Sabatia campanulata (slender marsh pink)   USA: KY, MA, MD    
Sabatia campestris (prairie rose gentian)   USA: IL    
Sabatia capitata (rose gentian, Cumberland rose gentian)       imperiled globally, endemic to AL, GA, TN, and NC (USA)
Sabatia difformis (lance-leaved sabatia)   USA: MD    
Sabatia dodecandra (large marsh pink)       species of Special Concern in Connecticut and believed to be extinct there (USA)
Sabatia kennedyana (Plymouth gentian) (Canada, MA, CPC)   USA: RI, SC Canada: Nova Scotia; USA: NC rare globally; species of Special Concern in Massachusetts (USA)
Sabatia stellaris (sea pink, marsh pink) (CT, MA)   USA: CT, MA    
Sebaea ovata (link)   New Zealand    


Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) [conservation of the native flora of USA]
NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [worldwide organization for conservation, large database]
U.S. Dept, of Agriculture (USDA), PLANTS database [USA, Federal agency, photos, maps of species]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Endangered Species Program [USA, Federal government]

 Lena Struwe, 2004-2011


Gentian Research Network, 2002-2011.
For corrections and additions, contact Lena Struwe at