Wednesday's Wildflower: Wiregrass Gentian

Gentiana pennelliana 

Submitted by Kitty Loftin, Sarracenia Chapter

Genus: Gentiana
Species: Gentiana pennelliana Fernald
Family: Gentianaceae
Common name: Wiregrass gentian

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.

Kitty Loftin photographed this Gentian in Sopchoppy in the Florida Panhandle where she says, " Nothing better than hiking or biking in the woods.... well maybe fishing :)"

Other Links: 
USF Atlas:Gentiana pennelliana 


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