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Family: Gentianaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Gentianales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • GENTIAN FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Herbs with opposite, simple, glabrous leaves without stipules;calyces bell-shaped or tubular; corollas showy, salverform to rotate or bell-shaped, radially symmetrical with the same number of epipetalous stamens alternating with the corolla lobes.

Diagnosis: Ours low, glabrous annual or short-lived perennial herbs; leaves opposite, sessile or subsessile,simple, entire, without stipules; flowers terminal, solitary or in cymose inflorescences; calyces often with prominently ribbed tube, usually with 4-5 teeth or lobes; corollas salverform, rotate or campanulate, usually 4-5-lobed; stamens as many as corolla lobes; ovary superior, 2-carpellate;fruit a many-seeded, 2-valved capsule.


Notes: A medium-large (1,225 species in 78 genera), cosmopolitan family of mainly herbs or shrubs or rarely small trees; they usually accumulate bitter iridoid substances; many are showy and frequently used as ornamentals including species of Centaurium, Eustoma, Exacum, Gentiana,and Sabatia . Nymphoides, previously placed in this family, is here treated in the Menyanthaceae. Family name from Gentiana, GENTIAN, a temperate, arctic, and montane genus of 361 species of usually perennial herbs. (Named for Gentius, 2nd century king of Illyria, who is said to have discovered the medicinal properties of G. lutea L. roots) (subclass Asteridae).