Marsh Gentian

©Philip Precey

Marsh Gentian

Scientific name: Gentiana pneumonanthe
The bright blue, trumpet-shaped flowers of the Marsh Gentian contrast deeply with the pinks and purples of the wet heaths it inhabits. The New Forest holds a large population of this late-flowering plant.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

July to October

About

The Marsh Gentian is a rare plant of acidic bogs and wet heathlands whose bright blue, trumpet-shaped flowers appear from July to October, contrasting with the pinks and purples of the heath. There are particularly strong populations of this flower in the New Forest, where a white variety has also occurred.

How to identify

The upright, unbranched stems of Marsh Gentian hold aloft the blue, trumpet-shaped flowers that are delicately striped with green. Narrow leaves are carried up the stem in pairs.

Distribution

Rare, found in just three areas of England.

Did you know?

Historically, the roots of Marsh Gentian (also known as 'Bog Gentian') were used to treat various diseases, as well as bites and stings.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working to restore and protect our heathlands by promoting good management, clearing encroaching scrub and implementing beneficial grazing regimes. This work is vital if these habitats are to survive; you can help by supporting your local Wildlife Trust and becoming a member or volunteer.