Pine barren gentian

Gentiana_autumnalis1
Gentiana autumnalis flowers have an interesting habit of closing up every evening and then reopening the next morning..  Foliage is thin and grassy.  The broad leaf visible at top left belongs to a weedy Viola.

Gentiana autumnalis, the pine barren gentian, is a lovely autumn to early winter flowering wildflower of the eastern coastal plain. It is native to moist, open pine woods from southern New Jersey to Georgia.  In North Carolina, I have seen it blooming in longleaf pine savannna in Croatan National Forest.  Like many of the plants in that ecosystem, it is dependent on fire.  When fire is suppressed, growth of woody shrubs and deciduous trees soon chokes out the gentians, along with the orchids and carnivorous plants that grow in the same habitat.

My plant was purchased from the North Carolina Botanical Garden seven or eight years ago.  I grow it in a mix of sand and peat in an 8″ (20 cm) diameter plastic pot sitting in a saucer of rain water. I give the plant very little fertilizer, and it blooms reliably in early November.

Gentiana_autumnalis2

6 thoughts on “Pine barren gentian

    1. Perhaps in the Hollywood version. In the original H. G. Wells novel they landed southwest of London, in the Walton-upon-Thames area. That sticks in my mind, as my first job with BP was in Sunbury-upon-Thames – not too far from the action. However, even in the novel they were not interested in the local flora.

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