Perennial herb 10 cm - 1 m tall Leaves: opposite, stalkless, light green, fairly egg-shaped, with long, pointed tips. Inflorescence: of one to many, stalkless, compactly clustered flowers at the stem apex, and also often in smaller clusters in the upper few leaf axils. The terminal inflorescence is subtended by two or three pairs of large, leaf-like bracts. Flowers: pale blue, 3 - 5 cm long, radially symmetric, tubular, and partially or fully closed. Sepals: five, but fused at base, then separating into egg-shaped lobes, each with a small ridge-like structure (keel) running down the outer face. Petals: five, but fused with slightly shorter, white, jagged-edged membranes (plaits) between triangular, wider than long petal lobes. Stamens: five, attached to the inside of the petal tube, with the anthers fused together. Pistil: with a single-chambered, superior ovary; a short, stout style; and a two-lobed stigma. There is a whorl of nectar glands present around the base of the ovary, though they are not attached to the fused petal tube base. Stems: one to several, typically erect, usually unbranched, hairless.
Similar species: Gentiana x pallidocyanea is a hybrid between G. alba and G. andrewsii. Gentiana alba can be distinguished by its almost closed, whitish flowers with much shorter plaits. While the flowers of G. andrewsii and its varieties may be closer in color to those of G. x pallidocyanea, they differ by having fully closed flowers, longer plaits than petals, and sepal lobes without ridges (keels).
Flowering: August to October
Habitat and ecology: Uncommon in general, this hybrid has been found along a clay bluff and in wet prairies of the Chicago Region.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: Gentiana is named after Gentius, king of Illyria, who supposedly discovered a medicinal value for the yellow gentian. Pallidocyanea comes from the Latin words pallid meaning pale, and cyanea meaning blue, thus together meaning "pale blue" referring to the flower color.
Author: The Field Museum
Citation: The vPlants Project. vPlants: A Virtual Herbarium of the Chicago Region. http://www.vplants.org
Copyright © 2001–2009 The vPlants Project, All Rights Reserved.