Gentiana spenceri Kirk, Chionogentias spenceri (Kirk) 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.
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.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (from Nelson through Westland to about the Whitcombe River)
Subalpine Nothofagus forest and associated scrub, forest clearings in such forest, and along ridges
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).
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
Plants monocarpic, biennial, height in flower 85–270 mm. Caudex unbranched, 20–100 mm long, stolons absent. Root 2.0–3.1 mm diameter at stem base. Flowering stems terminal and lateral, 1–7 per plant, largest flowering stem 2.0–3.3 mm diameter at base, 1.9–2.7 mm diameter when dry, green or tinted crimson, lateral flowering stems erect, flowering stem leaves 1–3 pairs per stem, lowest pedicels from near base of flowering stem or halfway up flowering stem. Rosette of leaves present and distinct from flowering stem leaves, leaves elliptic, orbicular, obovate, or ovate, 25.0–93.0 × 13.0–22.0 mm, green or tinted crimson below or tinted purple-black, flat or with petiole v-shaped, sometimes very shallowly 2- or 3-lobed, sometimes recurved at the apex, leaf apex usually rounded, occasionally acute or retuse, petiole absent to distinct, 15.0–53.0 × 2.0–5.8 mm wide at leaf base. Flowering stem leaves orbicular with shorter petioles than rosette leaves or sessile. Pedicels 1 or 2 per leaf axil, 1.5–10.0 × 1.0–1.2 mm diameter, 0.4–0.7 mm diameter when dry. Flowers 3–33 per plant, 9.0–16 mm long. Calyx 6.0-11.0 mm long, green, hairs at calyx–corolla fusion line absent or present; lobes 5.3–9.3 × 1.4–2.1 mm, plane, apices acute, margins smooth or minutely denticulate, sinus hairs absent or sparse. Corolla 9.3–14 mm long, white, sometimes tinted on outside of corolla lobes, veins usually coloured purple or crimson, rarely uncoloured; tube 2.5–4.1 mm long; lobes 5.4–9.9 × 3.2–4.4 mm wide, hairs below sinus absent or present; nectary 0.8–2.0 mm from corolla base. Filaments 5.9–8.0 mm long from corolla base, 0.6–0.7 mm wide. Anthers 1.1–1.3 mm long, anther wall dark red, mouth orange-red, extrorse at anthesis, pollen dull pink. Stigma crimson. Ovules 4–33 per ovary. Capsules 6.2–12.0 mm long.
G. spenceri are its orbicular leaves with apex rounded, and often with a very slight lobing of the leaf, the unbranched caudex with a single basal rosette of leaves, the short pedicels (1.5–10 mm long), the few pairs of flowering stem leaves (1–3 pairs), the smaller late flowers arising from low on the plant, the pandurate calyx lobes, and the purple corolla veins
December – March
January - June
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)
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2004). Description based on 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.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Gentianella spenceri Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/gentianella-spenceri/ (Date website was queried)