CHILTERN GENTIAN

Gentianella germanica

Gentian Family [Gentianaceae]

month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8mauve
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8white
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
(or 4)
type
typeZfringed
 
stem
stem8square
rarity
rarityZscarce
 

16th Sept 2011, VC23, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
An erect biennial (or annual) which grows to 40cm but can be as short as 3cm.


16th Sept 2011, VC23, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Very like Autumn Gentian but the flowers are both a brighter blue-purple and larger. Also, the transverse wrinkles across the corolla (before it splits into 4 to 5 petals) are more obvious than those on Autumn Gentian. Note the brown and cream colour of the as-yet un-opened flower bud (lowest flower). The tubular part of the corolla (just before it splits into 4-5 petals [aka calyx-lobes]) is also widest at the end.


16th Sept 2011, VC23, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The petals (which are 6-11mm long) are a part of the long corolla (actually - they are fused onto it in the case of the Gentianaceae [aka Gentian Family]) where it splits into 5 (or 4) and then splays outwards.


16th Sept 2011, VC23, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The petals are a brighter blue-purple than Autumn Gentian. Within is a fringe of long white protrusions sticking vertically outwards. Within that are a single white style and (deeper within the centre) only two stamens with anthers. The petals are shorter than those of Autumn Gentian.


16th Sept 2011, VC23, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Flowers going to seed with now erect petals and fruit slightly protruding.


16th Sept 2011, VC23, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Going to fruit, with growing (at the moment, cream-coloured) pods protruding from between the petals, which are now upright. The corolla (at 25-35mm long) is more than twice as long as the green calyx (which splits into 5 long narrow green sepals) in which it sits.


Easily mistaken for : Autumn Gentian (Gentianella amarella) but that has dark-green leaves which are often flushed purple. The flowers are also a duller purple with the same number (4 or 5) petals. The corolla tube (not including the petals which are fused onto the end of the corolla tube) is only 12-18mm long (as opposed to 25-35mm long on Chiltern Gentian) is less than twice as long as the green calyx (being the sepal plus sepal teeth). The petals of Autumn Gentian (at 4-7mm long) are shorter than those of Chiltern Gentian which are 6-11mm long.

Hybridizes with : Autumn Gentian (Gentianella amarella) to produce Gentianella × pamplinii, which is intermediate in corolla-shape, corolla size and corolla colour, occurring near most gatherings of Chiltern Gentian.

It is nationally scarce and listed as vulnerable, being a rare [RR] and is locally common in North Hampshire, in the Chiltern Hills, through to Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. It grows on short and dry grassland in chalky areas, especially where sheltered from the wind such as by growing in open scrub or near to woods.


  Gentianella germanica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Gentianaceae  

Distribution
 family8Gentian family8Gentianaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Gentianella
Gentianella
(Gentians)

CHILTERN GENTIAN

Gentianella germanica

Gentian Family [Gentianaceae]