Wednesday’s Wildflower: Seaside Gentian

Seaside Gentian: Eustoma exultatum
Submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami-Dade Chapter, resident of the lower Florida Keys

Seaside Gentian, photo by Beryn Harty

The beautiful Seaside Gentian, Eustoma exultatum, is a herbaceous wildflower found in brackish to fresh wet coastal areas, and inland in wet prairies. The stunning flowers are usually a shade of light to medium purple with a dark purple center, but some flowers appear almost white with dark purple centers.

Seaside Gentian, photo by Donna Bollenbach
Seaside Gentian, photo by Donna Bollenbach

Eustoma means wide or beautiful wide-open mouth (referring to the flower’s shape), while exaltatum means tall. These flowers may reach several feet high, with gray-green leaves that clasp the stem.

Family Name: Gentianaceae
Genus/Species: Eustoma exultatum
Common Name(s): Seaside Gentian
Native Range: Southeastern, midwestern and western United States south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America
Hardiness zone: 10-11
Soil Type: wet, poorly drained
Seed capsule, photo by Beryn Harty
Preferred Sun: Full
Height at maturity: 1’ to 3’
Propagation: (seed, seedling) Dried pods dehisce, contain hundreds of tiny seeds
Garden or Landscape:Not easy to grow, but seeds are available. Would be lovely as accent flower in coastal wildflower garden

Beryn Harty is a member of Miami-Dade Chapter FNPS as there is no current Keys chapter.  She lives full time on Ramrod Key.

Other Links:

FNPS: Native Plants for Your Area: Seaside Gentian

 Photo by Donna Bollenbach
USF Plant Atlas: Eustoma exultatum

IRC:IRC species link: Seaside Gentian


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