Slender Gentian - Gentianella tenella
Slender Gentian is a small, glabrous, annual herb which stands 2-15 cm tall; Montana collections are on the small end of this range. The stems are 4-angled and may be branched; those of small plants are often unbranched. There are usually several spoon-shaped basal leaves which are 3-10 mm long, and few, if any, slightly larger, opposite stem leaves, which are 5-15 mm long. There are one to a few flowers per stem borne singly on long pedicels; stems of small plants are often reduced to single, flowered, leafless scapes. The flowers have 4 green sepals which are about half as long as the corolla. The white to bluish-purple corolla is 8-15 mm long and is tubular-shaped with 4 terminal lobes which are about one-third as long as the tube; the inner surface of each lobe has two fringed scales near its base. There are 4 stamens attached to the inside of the corolla tube and a single basal pistil.
Flowering in late July-August.
This species is distinguished from other Montana Gentianella by having flowers borne on long pedicels in an open inflorescence (in small plants, these are reduced to leafless scapes) with 4 distinct sepals and corolla lobes with fringed scales. Species of Gentiana differ by having corollas which are plicate.
Circumboreal, south in North America to Que., NM, and CA. Sparse.
Moist tundra, boulder fields, or rock ledges near or in alpine zone.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Fertig, W. and M. Bynum. 1994. Biological report on the proposed Twin Lakes Research Natural Area. Unpublished report to the Shoshone National Forest. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, Wyoming. 33 pp. plus appendices.
- Lesica, P. 1993. Vegetation and flora of the Line Creek Plateau area, Carbon County, Montana. Unpublished report to USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 30 pp.
- Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Scott, R. W. 1966. The alpine flora of northwestern Wyoming. M.S. thesis. University of Wyoming, Laramie. 219 pp.
- Spira, T.P. 1984. Comparative demography of alpine biennial and perennial gentians (Gentiana spp.) in California. American Journal of Botany 71:90.