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October Wildflower Spotlight: 
Closed Gentian

Closed GentianClosed Gentian, gentiana andrewsii, is perennial at home in rich meadows and woodland openings. The beautiful closed or “bottle” gentian is one of our showiest late-season flowers. Plants attain a height of two feet. Pairs of 1 to 3-inch long leaves are found along the full length of a stout stem. Amid the upper pairs of leaves appear clusters of up to a dozen blue flowers. Each flower has a pleated appearance and is about 1 ˝ inches long. The flowers appear closed due to inward-projecting lobes at the tops of the united petals. 

The genus is named for Gentius a King of ancient Illyria from 180 to 167 B.C. who was supposed to have discovered the medicinal properties of the plant. Gentain root has a long history of use as an herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. The Cherokee used it as a tonic, cathartic and laxative as well to treat weak stomach and, oddly, hysterical affections. 

Previous Spotlights:
     - SeptemberGoldenrod
     - AugustJoe Pye Weed
     - July:   Cardinal Flower
     - JuneRosebay Rhododendron