Submitted by Kitty Loftin, Sarracenia Chapter
|Photo by Kitty Loftin, Sopchoppy, Florida|
Wiregrass gentian is a small, rare perennial plant of moist to wet flatwoods and savannas. It is an endemic species, restricted in distribution to nine counties in the Florida panhandle. It needs to have sunlight for growth and for the flowers to open. It is often found growing with wiregrass, thus the common name.
The 1 1/2 to 2 1/2-inch-long flowers are borne singly or in pairs at the tip of the stem. They are white inside and white suffused with purple outside. They bloom in winter, typically December-January It's threatened by habitat loss, fire suppression, and is listed as endangered.
The genus Gentiana is named after Gentius, a 6th century King of Illyria, who used the roots of the yellow gentian to treat malaria in his soldiers.
USF Atlas:Gentiana pennelliana