Gentiana saxosa G.Forst., Gentiana saxosa var. recurvata Kirk, Gentiana hookeri J.B.Armstrong pro parte, Chionogentias saxosa (G.Forst.) L.G.Adams, Oreophylax saxosus (G.Forst.) Á.Löve nom. inval.
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 threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2018 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
Previous conservation statuses
2017 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, RR
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: South (Otago, Southland, Fiordland) and Stewart Island
Coastal. On rock outcrops, coastal turf-lands, sand dunes
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
UPL: Obligate Upland
Rarely is a hydrophyte, almost always in uplands (non-wetlands).
Plants polycarpic, height in flower 40–170 mm. Flowering stems terminal and lateral or lateral only, 2–16 per plant, stems tinted purple-black, lateral fl owering stems decumbent, 1.4–2.8 mm diameter, flowering stem leaves 4–5 pairs per stem, lowest pedicels from halfway up flowering stem. Rosette leaves narrowly elliptic to elliptic, leaf apex rounded, 17.8–87 mm long, 3.2–17.5 mm wide, green, not recurved; petiole distinct, 14.5–64 × 0.7–3.4 mm at leaf base. Pedicels 1 per axil, 10–67 mm long, 1.4–1.5 mm diameter. Flowers 9–82 per plant, 15.0–24.2 mm long. Calyx 6.8–8.8 mm long, green; lobes 4.5–6.2 mm long, 2.0–3.2 mm wide at base, distinctly recurved, apices acute, margins minutely denticulate, sinus hairs absent. Corolla 13.7–15.7 mm long, white, veins uncoloured; tube 3.5–4.0 mm long; lobes 9.6–11.2 mm long, 6.7–7.4 mm wide; nectaries 2.5–3.7 mm from corolla base. Filaments 7.6–8.1 mm long from corolla base, 0.7–0.8 mm wide. Anthers 2.0–2.1 mm long, anther wall blue-black, mouth yellow, extrorse at anthesis. Stigma colourless. Ovules 30–44 per ovary. Capsule 10.0–19.3 mm long.
Most closely allied to G. scopulorum Glenny from which it is distinguished by the elliptic to narrowly elliptic leaves, recurved calyx lobes, purple-black flowering stems, colourless corolla veins, and larger anthers (2-2.1 cf. 1-1.5 mm). It is found from Fiordland and Otago south to Stewart Island, whereas G. scopulorum is endemic to north Westland.
December – February
March - May
Seeds dispersed by ballistic projection, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009)
Probably the only New Zealand Gentian to be easily grown but still considered difficult. A free draining but damp soil in a semi-shaded or cool but sunny situation seem to suit it. Dislikes humidity.
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)
saxosa: Rock dweller
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (October 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