Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Bottle Gentian

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Gentiana andrewsii

    COMMON NAMES: Bottle Gentian, Closed Bottle Gentian, Andrew's Gentian, Closed Gentian

    BLOOM TIME: Aug, Sept, Oct


    • 2 ½ ft. tall with stalkless leaves 5 in. x 1 ½ in.
    • Striking deep blue 1 ½ in. flowers in the shape of a bottle.
    • Flowers in 1-3 clusters along stem remained closed except for white tip.
    • Habitat: moist woods & prairies; does not tolerate drought.
    • Cherokee used as tonic, laxative, & treatment for stomach ailments.
    • Dried root was used centuries ago in Europe & Asia for weakness of digestive system or lack of appetite.
    • Populations declining due to destruction of wetlands.


    • Bumblebees are primary pollinators of the flowers.
    • Bumblebees one of few insects that can force their way into fused cone -shaped petal.
    • Cylindrical flower shape & star-shaped tip keeps smaller & less efficient pollinating insects from robbing nectar & pollen from the bumblebees.
    • Bitter-tasting foliage deters mammalian herbivores.
    • Deer may chomp off tender tops of plants before they have a chance to flower, causing central stem to form smaller side branches.
    • Seeds are too small to be of much interest to birds.