Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Closed Gentian - Gentiana clausa   Rafinesque
Members of Gentianaceae:
Members of Gentiana with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Gentianales » Family Gentianaceae
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AuthorRafinesque
DistributionFound over most of the Mountains, but might be absent from several far southwestern counties. Disjunct to Granville County in the northern Piedmont.

This is a Northern species, ranging from ME south to NJ and eastern OH, and south in the Appalachians to western NC and adjacent TN.
AbundanceInfrequent in the Mountains, except very rare to absent in the extreme southwestern counties. This is a Watch List species, seemingly about as numerous (uncommon or infrequent) as G. austromontana in the state.
HabitatThis is a species of moist places, generally in rich forests but also along wooded stream margins, at times in wet meadows. It favors high pH soils, with some dampness, though it is not truly a wetland species.
PhenologyBlooms from September to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a standard gentian, erect and reaching about 1.5 feet tall, with a number of opposite leaves and a cluster of bright blue tubular or bottle-shaped flowers at the top of the stem. This infrequently seen species can be distinguished first from the most common montane one -- G. decora -- by its smooth stem and smooth calyx lobes, plus the flowers essentially closed at the tip; G. decora has a hairy stem and calyx lobes, has the lobes of the corolla slightly open, and has very narrow calyx lobes. G. austromontana also has hairy stems and hairy calyx lobes. However, the scarce G. latidens also has a smooth stem and calyx lobes; that species has the lobes at the end of the corolla 2.5-5 mm (i.e., at least 1/10-inch) long versus practically no corolla lobes (under 2 mm) in G. clausa. Also, G. latidens has the calyx lobes normally ovate to elliptic, 5-25 mm long, compared with widely obovate to orbicular lobes that are only 2-10 mm long in G. clausa. Visually, G. clausa has rather convex corollas, slightly looking inflated, whereas G. latidens and G. austromontana have more pointed corollas with straight sides toward the tip. The range of G. latidens is mostly to the south of G. clausa, from Haywood and Transylvania counties westward, but G. clausa also occurs in this same region.
Taxonomic CommentsThis has essentially always been a good species, but others now considered good species -- G. austromontana and G. latidens -- have been considered a part of this species by some authors.

Other Common Name(s)Meadow Closed Gentian, Bottle Gentian
State RankS3
Global RankG5
State StatusW7 [W1]
US Status
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1981, Easthampton, MA. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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