South Dakota Native Plant Research
Gentianaceae : Gentiana andrewsii

Gentianaceae : Gentiana andrewsii


Download Seed: The seeds of the closed gentian are lightweight, paper thin, and around 2 mm long. (52 KB)

Download Seedling image (695 KB)

Download Mature plant (1000 KB)

Download Vegetative: Leaves of closed gentian are lanceolate, 2-9 cm long. (687 KB)

Download Flowering: The bluish-purple, closed, tubular corolla of closed gentian. (417 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Bottle gentian, closed gentian

Native American Name

Lakota: kapȟópa, waȟčá wašté


Gentiana andrewsii is perennial herb growing 10-70 cm tall, the stems smooth to minutely hairy. The simple, opposite leaves are 1.8-8.4 cm long and 0.5-3.5 cm wide, sessile, tapering to a point, and the leaves tend to become larger as they ascend the stem. The inflorescence is a dense terminal cluster of flowers, occasionally with additional clusters in the axils of upper nodes. The calyx tube is 10-12 mm long with 5 lanceolate lobes 4-10 mm long. The blue to purplish, occasionally white, corolla forms a 2.8-4 cm long, closed tube, the petals incurved, with the flowers resembling large buds. The fruit is a capsule, ~25 mm long, and wrapped with the dried petals and contains numerous winged seeds. Closed bottle gentians bloom in August and September in wet meadows, prairies and woods in western and northeastern South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Closed bottle gentian is one of the most common perennial gentians and is easy to grow in a moist native plant garden. The colorful flowers appear to never open but are pollinated by bumblebees. They need moisture and don’t fare well in full sun, the leaves often bleaching.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect seeds in the fall when the capsules begin to split along the seams.

Germination: The seeds need a 60-day cold treatment to germinate. They also require light. Seeds scatter in the fall on a wet soil will germinate in the spring.

Soil: Rich organic, well drained soils.

Light: Partial shade to shade.

Water: medium wet, but not soggy.

Gentianaceae : Gentiana andrewsii