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Clusius's Gentian

Gentiana clusii

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Gentianaceae (Gentian)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, mountains.

Blue, 5 petals
Trumpet-shaped, deep blue flowers. Unlike the similar looking Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe), the flowers do not have the green streaks on their outsides.
The fruit is a capsule.
A garden escape species with pointed, lance-shaped leaves in opposite pairs up the stem. Similar in appearance to Marsh Gentian but with most of the leaves in a basal rosette. Clump-forming perennial.
Other Names:
Bottle Gentian, Flower of the Sweet-lady, Trumpet Gentian.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Gentiana clusii, also known as Clusius' gentian or bottle gentian, is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family. It is native to the alpine regions of Europe and the Mediterranean.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to 20-50 cm tall. The leaves are lance-shaped, opposite and hairless. Flowers are typically a deep blue color and are large, trumpet-shaped, up to 7-8cm long, and appear in late summer or early autumn. They are often arranged in dense clusters.

This plant is considered to be rare in some of the regions, with small or fragmented populations. It is protected in many regions and it's illegal to pick, uproot or disturb wild plants without permission from the landowner.


Gentians are a group of flowering plants known for their strikingly beautiful blue to violet-blue flowers. One species of Gentian that is particularly noteworthy is Gentiana clusii, commonly known as Clusius's Gentian. This plant is named after the Dutch botanist, Carolus Clusius, who was one of the pioneers in the study of Alpine flora.


Gentiana clusii is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Gentianaceae family. It is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe, where it grows at high elevations of up to 3000 meters. The plant typically grows to a height of around 10-20 cm and has a rosette of lanceolate leaves at the base of the stem. The leaves are dark green and have a glossy appearance.

The flowers of Gentiana clusii are its most distinctive feature. They are trumpet-shaped, with a diameter of around 3-5 cm, and have a deep blue to violet-blue color. The flowers are borne on short stems that arise from the center of the rosette of leaves. The blooming period for this plant is from late summer to early fall.


Gentiana clusii is a hardy plant that is well-suited to cultivation in rock gardens or as a border plant. It prefers well-draining soil and a sunny location, but it can also tolerate partial shade. The plant is relatively low-maintenance and requires little watering, especially during the winter months when it is dormant.


Propagation of Gentiana clusii can be done through seed or by division of the clumps. Seeds should be sown in the spring, and the young plants should be kept in a cool, moist environment until they are large enough to be transplanted. Division of the clumps can be done in the fall or early spring, and the new plants should be planted in a similar location to the parent plant.


Gentiana clusii has several uses in traditional medicine. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders, fever, and rheumatism. The plant is also used in the production of the bitter liqueur, Gentianella.


Gentiana clusii is classified as a vulnerable species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The plant is threatened by habitat loss due to agricultural activities, urbanization, and tourism. Conservation efforts are focused on protecting the natural habitats of the plant and promoting sustainable land-use practices.


The genus Gentiana is named after Gentius, the king of Illyria, who was said to have discovered the plant's medicinal properties. There are over 400 species of Gentiana, and Gentiana clusii is one of the more widely cultivated species. The plant was first described by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1719 and was named after Carolus Clusius, a pioneering botanist who lived in the 16th and 17th centuries.


Gentiana clusii is a typical Alpine plant that is well-adapted to harsh mountain environments. It grows in rocky or gravelly soils that are well-drained and often nutrient-poor. The plant has a shallow root system that allows it to quickly absorb water from the soil, which is important for its survival in areas with short growing seasons. The flowers of Gentiana clusii are pollinated by a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies.

Medicinal uses

Gentiana clusii has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant contains bitter compounds, such as secoiridoids and xanthones, that are thought to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and digestive properties. The plant is used to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, gastrointestinal disorders, and liver problems. In traditional Austrian medicine, a tea made from the plant is used to treat respiratory problems.

Cultural significance

Gentiana clusii has been revered by cultures throughout history for its beauty and medicinal properties. In Austria, the plant is considered a symbol of strength and resilience and is often used in national emblems and flags. In Switzerland, the plant is associated with the Alps and is featured in many traditional folk songs and stories.

Facts about Clusius's Gentian

Here are some additional interesting facts about Gentiana clusii:

  • Gentiana clusii is sometimes referred to as "Clusius's trumpet gentian" due to the trumpet-shaped flowers.

  • The plant's scientific name, Gentiana clusii, honors the Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius, who is considered one of the fathers of modern botany.

  • Gentiana clusii is one of the few gentian species that is commonly cultivated outside of its native range.

  • The plant is known for its bitter taste, which comes from the same compounds that give it its medicinal properties.

  • In traditional European medicine, Gentiana clusii was used to treat a wide range of ailments, including malaria, liver diseases, and digestive problems.

  • The plant is also used in homeopathy as a remedy for indigestion, constipation, and general malaise.

  • In addition to its medicinal properties, Gentiana clusii is also known for its ornamental value. The plant's striking blue flowers make it a popular choice for rock gardens and border plantings.

  • The conservation of Gentiana clusii is a priority in many parts of its native range, and efforts are underway to protect the plant's natural habitats and promote sustainable land use practices.

  • The plant is listed as endangered in several countries, including Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.

  • In some parts of the Alps, Gentiana clusii is still harvested from the wild for its medicinal properties, despite efforts to promote sustainable cultivation practices.

Overall, Gentiana clusii is a fascinating plant with a rich history and a wide range of uses. From its medicinal properties to its cultural significance, the plant has played an important role in the lives of people throughout history. As efforts to conserve the plant continue, it is likely that its importance will only continue to grow in the years to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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