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Alpine Gentian

Gentiana nivalis

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:
15 centimetres tall
Meadows, mountains, rocky places.

Blue, 5 petals
Brilliant blue flowers with a long and narrow tube, measuring a maximum of 1cm in size. 5 stamens.
The fruit is a 2-parted capsule.
An erect annual or biennial flower with pointed oval leaves. The leaves appear together in opposite pairs up the stem. The leaves are also stalkless and have parallel venation.
Other Names:
Field Gentian, Small Mountain Gentian, Snow Gentian.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Gentiana nivalis, also known as the field gentian, is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is found in high altitude meadows and pastures, and on rocky areas.

It is a small, low-growing perennial, with a rosette of leaves at the base of the plant. Leaves are basal and lanceolate, entire to slightly toothed. Flowers are typically bright blue and trumpet-shaped, about 1-1.5 cm long and have a closed corolla tube. They appear in late summer and autumn.

It is not considered endangered, but it's considered rare in some of the region, with small or fragmented populations. Some countries and regions have legal protection in place and it's illegal to pick, uproot or disturb wild plants without permission from the landowner.


Alpine Gentian, or Gentiana nivalis, is a stunning alpine wildflower that is found in the high altitude regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. This perennial plant belongs to the Gentianaceae family and is known for its vibrant blue flowers, which are often used for medicinal purposes.


Alpine Gentian is a low-growing plant, reaching only about 2-4 inches in height. The stem is erect, and the leaves are arranged in a basal rosette. The leaves are narrow and lance-shaped, with smooth edges, and are about 1-2 inches long. The flowers are bell-shaped, with five petals fused together to form a tube. The petals are a brilliant blue, and the tube is often striped with darker lines. The flower stalks are thin and delicate, and the flowers bloom from July to September.

Habitat and Distribution

Alpine Gentian is found in the high altitude regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. It grows in rocky and gravelly soils, in alpine meadows, on mountain slopes, and near glaciers. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate extreme temperatures and harsh growing conditions.

Medicinal Uses

Alpine Gentian has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its numerous health benefits. The roots and leaves of the plant contain bitter compounds that stimulate digestion and improve appetite. It is often used to treat digestive disorders such as indigestion, bloating, and nausea. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to alleviate joint pain and muscle soreness.

Conservation Status

Alpine Gentian is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, like many alpine plants, it is vulnerable to climate change and habitat loss due to human activities such as development and tourism. It is important to protect the natural habitats of this beautiful plant to ensure its survival for future generations.

More Information about Alpine Gentian

Alpine Gentian is a popular ornamental plant that is often cultivated for its striking blue flowers. It is commonly grown in rock gardens and alpine landscapes, where it can add a pop of color to a rocky or gravelly soil. It is a relatively easy plant to grow, as long as it is provided with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Alpine Gentian also plays an important role in the ecosystem as a source of food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Its deep blue flowers are highly attractive to these insects, which help to pollinate the plant and ensure its survival.

Alpine Gentian is a fascinating plant with a rich history and numerous uses. Its stunning blue flowers, hardy nature, and medicinal properties make it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. However, it is important to remember that this plant is also a part of the natural ecosystem and should be protected and conserved to ensure its survival in the wild.

In addition to its medicinal and ornamental uses, Alpine Gentian has also been used in traditional folklore and legends. In some European cultures, it was believed that carrying a piece of Gentian root would bring good luck and protection against evil spirits. It was also believed that the plant could be used to break curses and lift spells.

Furthermore, Alpine Gentian has been the subject of scientific research due to its potential use in developing new drugs. The bitter compounds found in the plant have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Studies have also shown that Gentian extracts can help to regulate blood sugar levels and may have potential in treating diabetes.

Despite its many uses, Alpine Gentian is also facing threats from climate change, habitat loss, and over-harvesting. It is important to protect and conserve this valuable plant to ensure its survival for future generations. This can be done through conservation efforts such as habitat preservation, responsible harvesting practices, and education about the importance of this plant in the ecosystem.

Alpine Gentian is not only a beautiful and useful plant, but it is also an important indicator of climate change in high altitude regions. As global temperatures continue to rise, the range of Alpine Gentian is shifting higher up the mountains, where the temperatures are cooler. This is a concern for the survival of the plant, as it may eventually run out of space to grow and reproduce.

To address this issue, conservationists are studying the impact of climate change on Alpine Gentian and other high-altitude plants. They are also exploring new methods of conserving these plants, such as seed banks and habitat restoration. By protecting the natural habitats of these plants, we can help to ensure their survival in the face of climate change.

Finally, it is worth noting that Alpine Gentian is just one of many plants that are vital to the health and biodiversity of our planet. All plants, no matter how small or unassuming, play an important role in the ecosystem and should be protected and conserved. By appreciating and valuing the natural world around us, we can help to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for ourselves and for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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