Gentianella quinquefolia (L.) Small - Stiff Gentian


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Gentianella quinquefolia - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Gentianaceae


Open woods and mesic to wet open places. Usually in habitats with limited competition.




Appalachian region from ME to GA, west to western NY and adjacent Ontario (var. quinquefolia).


Biennial herb to 80 cm, stem simple or often freely branched; leaves sessile, opposite, lanceolate or lance-ovate, acute or subacuminate, 2-7 cm long; flowers in dense cymes terminating the stem or short axillary branches, on pedicels to 1 cm, or a few lower flowers solitary; calyx tube 1.5-3 mm, the lobes linear to lance-ovate, 1.5-5 mm (var. quinquefolia); corollas 1.5-2.3 cm, tubular-funnelform, blue-purple (white), the lobes 4-7 mm, ovate or lance-ovate, acute or acuminate.


Flowers August to September

Wetland indicator: FAC

Also known as agueweed, presumably as a treatment for fever. A more western var. occidentalis (A. Gray) Small, with longer calyx tube (2.5-5 mm) and lobes (0.4-1 cm), occurs from OH and southern Ontario to MN, south to KY, AR, and southeastern KS.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


USDA, NRCS. 2002.
The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.



 Michael Hough 2018