Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
GENTIAN FAMILY (Gentianaceae)
IND. STATUS: OBL
FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A biennial herb up to 80 cm. tall. Leaves are opposite, without stalks, linear to lance-shaped, and less than 1 cm. (8 mm.) wide. Flowers are blue with four fringed corolla lobes, and are solitary to numerous at the end of branches. Flowers in bloom during September and October. Can be confused with the greater fringed gentian (Gentianopsis crinita), which may occur in less calcareous habitats. G. crinita leaves are greater than 1 cm. wide and the flowers are more box-shaped. These two species may hybridize.
ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Lesser fringed gentian is characteristic in calcareous fens, and also occurs on calcareous soils of wet to wet-mesic prairies and along shores, particularly if groundwater seepages are present. A synonym is Gentiana procera Holm.
SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).