Zones: 6b to 8
Size: To 12" tall
Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade
Short stems, leaves in whorls, dark green. Blue tubular flowers tight to the stems in autumn. Attracts hummingbirds. Moist to wet conditions.
Gentian, with remote opposite and ternate leaves, whorled ten-cleft bellied flowers, with their alternate segments unequally bifid and torn ; and minutely ciliated empalements. (Bot. Repos.)
Published in Fl. Carol. (Walter) 109 in 1788.
Catesby's illustration appears to have the partially opened flowers of G. saponaria but was identified as G. catesbaei Walter by Ewan (1974, p.94). Fernald (Rhodora 49: 175, 176. 1947) recognized G. catesbaei Walter after that name had been in the synonymy of G. saponaria L. for many years. Fernald saw a specimen in Walter's herbarium, which he illustrated. He commented: "Although Walter did not cite Catesby's plate, his intent in giving the name of G. catesbaei is pretty obvious." Fernald quoted Curtis (Boston Jour. Nat. Hist. 1: 128. 1835) as having said "Tab. 70 of Catesby's Carolina, represents it" and concluded, "There should be no question about the identity of G. catesbaei."
Native to east coast US.
Also published in Bot. Repos. 6: 418 in 1805.
I purchased a 4" pot at Plant Delights in October 2012. It was pretty much dormant when I got it and nothing much happened. A couple of leaves appeared in spring but they could have been a weed.