Gentiana saponaria l.

Harvestbells, Soapwort Gentian

Family: Gentianaceae

Genus: Gentiana

Category: Perennial

Size: To 20" tall

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Opposite leaves, lance-shaped. Blue-purple flowers, tubular in axillary clusters in summer to autumn. Moist to wet soil.


Published in Sp. Pl. 1: 228 in 1753 as Gentiana saponaria - Linnaeus cites Catesby's Natural History Volume I Plate 70. But it was probably Gentiana catesbaei - see below from J. Arnold Arbor. 64: 526-7 in 1983:

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 Alabama and Florida.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner