forest gentian, common gentian
Gentiana grisebachii Hook.f., Gentiana montana f. grisebachii (Hook.f.) Kirk, Gentiana novae-zelandiae J.B.Armstr., Gentiana montana f. novaezelandiae (J.B.Armstr.) Kirk, Gentiana montana var. novae-zelandiae (J.B.Armstr.) Cheeseman, Gentiana matthewsii Petrie, Gentiana grisebachii var. matthewsii (Petrie) Cheeseman, Chionogentias grisebachii (Hook.f.) L.G.Adams, C. matthewsii (Petrie) L.G.Adams
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 36
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: North (from Mt Pirongia and the Raukumara Ranges south), South and Stewart Islands.
Usually montane to alpine but also lowland in southern part of range. Mainly present in moderately acid to acidic bogs, swamp forest, cloud forest, and poorly drained subalpine scrub, tussock grassland and rough pasture.
Plants monocarpic, biennial, height in flower 40–290 mm. Caudex unbranched, 7–15 mm long. Root 1.4–4.0 mm diameter at stem base. Flowering stems terminal and lateral or lateral only, 2–8 per plant, largest flowering stem 0.6–2.7 mm diameter at base, stem green, tinted crimson-orange, or purple-black, lateral flowering stems erect or decumbent, flowering stem leaves 3–6 pairs per stem, lowest pedicels from near base of flowering stem to near apex of flowering stem. Rosette of leaves absent from flowering plants, leaves narrowly elliptic or elliptic or ovate, 9.1–65.0 × 2.3–16.0 mm wide, green or tinted purple-black, flat or V-shaped, not recurved; apex acute or rounded; petiole distinct, 11–18 mm long, 0.7–3.6 mm wide at leaf base. Flowering stem leaves elliptic, ovate to narrowly ovate. Flowers 3–49 per plant, 6.7–20.0 mm long. Pedicels 1 per leaf axil, 10–80 mm long (elongating after flowering to 17–85 mm), 0.5–1.4 mm diameter. Calyx 5.5–11.6 mm long, green, tinted purple-black at the apices, hairs at calyx–corolla fusion line present; lobes 4.2–7.8 mm long, 0.9–2.6 mm wide at base, plane, apices narrowly acute, margins smooth, sinus hairs absent or sparse. Corolla 6.4–16 mm long, white, occasionally with purple-grey tinting on the corolla lobes, veins uncoloured, purple or purple-grey; tube 1.5–3.8 mm long; lobes 4.9–12.5 × 2.1–8.6 mm wide, hairs below sinus absent or present; nectary 0.4–1.2 mm from corolla base. Filaments 3.6–8.6 mm long from corolla base, 0.3–1.1 mm wide. Anthers 0.5–3.4 mm long, anther wall blue-black, rarely pink, mouth yellow, pale orange or orange-red, extrorse, occasionally horizontal at anthesis; pollen yellow or pale orange. Stigma colourless. Ovules 23–72 per ovary. Capsule 7.2–20.0 mm long.
Distinguished by its usually small, slender stems and preference for moderately acidic to acidic bogs and other poorly drained, sparsely vegetated habitats. Although highly variable it is easily separated from other Gentianella its large number of gracile dark purple or bronze scapes, the pedicels which greatly elongate after flowering; by its narrowly triangular calyx lobes; and also (for most of its range) by its small flowers that scarcely open.
January – May
February - August
Seeds dispersed by ballistic projection, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009)
Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.
gentianella: Little Gentiana (named after Gentius, 6th century king of Illyria, who found the roots of the yellow gentian to have a healing effect on his malaria-stricken troops)
grisebachii: After Grisebach
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact Sheet for NZPCN prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2004). Description modified from Glenny (2004)
References and further reading
Glenny, D. 2004: A revision of the genus Gentianella in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 361-530.
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309