Balsam Mountain Gentian

Gentiana sp.

The last days of August…

Today, I was pleasantly surprised to find this tall species of Gentian growing in the meadows of Grayson Highland State Park. At first I thought it was Bottle Gentian, but the bright green color of the leaves, the large size of the flowers, and the high elevation locale led me to think it might be something else.

Balsam Mountain Gentian, Grayson Highlands
Balsam Mountain Gentian, Grayson Highlands

After some digging on the internet, I’m speculating that this is actually Balsam Mountain Gentian, Gentiana latidens. This species was only recently described. It was previously thought to be a variation of Soapwort Gentian, Gentiana saponaria.

Growing nearby this little colony of balsam mountain gentian plants was another species with more narrow flowers.  Check out Stiff Gentian here.

Please drop me a line if you know more about this plant and especially how it is currently classified.

Click on any photo to open a slideshow.

1 thought on “Balsam Mountain Gentian”

  1. We were up on the Rhododendron Trail at Grayson Highlands St. Park today. Glorious day! We saw the plant you call Balsam Mountain Gentian high on the trail and Stiff Gentian a little lower on the trail. We found your notes and photos from August. Thanks for the ID and extended info. Edwina Driggers ( a wildflower lover).

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