Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Stiff Gentian - Gentianella quinquefolia   (L.) Small
Members of Gentianaceae:
Only member of Gentianella in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Gentianales » Family Gentianaceae
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Author(L.) Small
DistributionEssentially throughout the Mountains, and barely ranges into the western edge of the Piedmont. Slightly disjunct east to Forsyth County.

This is a Northern and Midwestern species, ranging from Canada and ME south throughout the Appalachians to northern GA, and west to AR.
AbundanceFairly common over the Mountains, though rare in the far southwestern counties. Extremely rare into the Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a species of a great array of habitats, most involving edges. It favors partial shade of mesic to rich wooded borders, road banks, stream margins, grassy balds, and open woods.
PhenologyBlooms from late August to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis gentian, moved to a different genus from the others in the state, has an erect stem of 1.5-2 feet tall. It always has multiple branches in the upper portions, and the opposite stem leaves are quite small, sessile, and somewhat triangular ovate, only about 2 inches long. In this species there are numerous, dense flower clusters on the branch tips, with the handful of tubular flowers in each cluster being small for a gentian, only about 1-inch long. Flower color is mainly purple to lilac to lavender, but some plants may have blue or violet-blue flowers. Normally the very many small flowers, no matter if purplish or bluish, will suffice to separate it from the true Gentiana species. This is an obvious species when seen in bud or bloom, and thankfully it is fairly easily found across most of the mountains.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly included in Gentiana by most authorities, but generally now moved to Gentianella.

Other Common Name(s)Agueweed, Eastern Agueweed, Appalachian Gentianella
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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