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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Showy Prairie-gentian - Eustoma grandiflorum
Other Names:  Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum, Eustoma russellianum

Status Under Review
Undetermined Origin

Global Rank: G5T5
State Rank: SU
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
In Montana, only known from one occurrence of undocumented size reported in 1984 from private ranchland near Circle. Unknown if population is still extant, as herbicide treatment at the site was a possibility at the time of report. May have been an isolated introduction into the state.
General Description
Showy Prairie-gentian is an annual or short-lived perennial herb with 1 to several erect stems that are 25-60 cm high and which arise from a long taproot. The opposite leaves are 15-75 mm long and elliptic with entire margins. The foliage is glabrous and covered with a whitish wax. Clusters of 2-6 stalked flowers are borne in an open, branched inflorescence. The calyx is deeply divided into 5 keeled, narrowly lance-shaped lobes, and the white to purple, bell-shaped corolla is 3-4 cm long and deeply divided into 5 elliptic lobes. The egg-shaped capsule is up to 2 cm long.

Flowering in August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The tube of the corolla is much longer than the lobes in the 3 closely related genera: Centareum, Gentiana, and Gentianella.

Species Range

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 2

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Reported elsewhere as wet meadows and pond margins on the plains.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Heidel, B. L. 1996. Noteworthy collections - Montana. Madrono 43(3):436-440.
    • Jennings, W.F. 1989. Final report on Eustoma grandiflorum, Spiranthes diluvialis, Malaxis brachypoda, Hypoxis hirsuta, Physaria bellii and Aletes humilis. Unpublished report in the Colorado Natural History Small Grants Program of The Nature Conservancy. Lousville, CO. 48 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Showy Prairie-gentian — Eustoma grandiflorum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from