Gentiana puberulenta J.S. Pringle
Downy Gentian, Prairie Gentian
Family - Gentianaceae
Stems - To 50 cm, often multiple from base, ascending to erect, minutely hairy in longitudinal lines.
Stem and leaves.
Stem and node.
Leaves - Opposite, clasping, simple, entire, lanceolate, to 6 cm, margins minutely hairy near base.
Leaf abaxial surface.
Inflorescence - Terminal solitary flowers or small clusters.
Flowers - Calyces basally fused, 5-lobed, 11-36 mm long, the linear to lanceolate lobes shorter than the tube. Corollas blue, funnelform, to 4 cm, free portion 5-lobed, 6-10 mm long, spreading at maturity. Petaloid appendages between the lobes toothed, pleated. Anthers free. Ovaries short-stalked, with inconspicuous nectary glands at bases, the style short or absent, the stigmas 2, persistent.
Flowering - September - November.
Habitat - Prairies, savannas, glades, usually on calcareous substrate.
Origin - Native to the U.S.
Other info. - This beautiful and unmistakable species is one of three Missouri members of the Gentiana genus. It is easily differentiated from the other two by having corollas which are spread open at maturity. The rich, deep blue color of the corollas is a striking and uncommon hue among our flora. Although the plant occurs across most of the state, it is not common anywhere. Missouri is near the southern end of its natural range, which extends northward into Minnesota and N. Dakota.
Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 10-3-2011, 9-8-2012, 9-27-2013, 9-12-2018 (SRTurner).