Perennial growing to 0.1m by 1m at a slow rate.
is a perennial plant, growing on acidic soils. Its
height is 2 cm and spread is 10 cm or more. The leaves are
evergreen, 2-3.5 cm long, in a basal rosette, forming clumps.
The trumpet-shaped terminal flowers have a blue colour with
olive-green spotted longitudinal throats. They grow on a very
short peduncle, 3-6 cm long. The flower stem is often without
leaves, or has 1 or 2 pairs of leaves.
Distribution and habitat:
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds.
Gentiana acaulis (often called "stemless gentian" although
that may equally apply to G. clusii) is a small gentian native
to central and southern Europe from Spain east to the Balkans,
growing especially in mountainous regions, such as the Alps,
Cevennes and the Pyrenees, at heights of 800 to 3,000 m.
The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient
King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and
Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants.
During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to
poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten
freckles. This species is one of several species that are the
source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are
based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly
used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of
use as a herbal bitter
the treatment of digestive disorders
and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains
some of the most bitter compounds
known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness.
It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic
disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive
system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners
of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and
digestive system, and is an excellent tonic
combine with a purgative
order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic
It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints,
indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not
be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered
are the richest in medicinal properties.