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Manitoba Museum

Gentian (Gentianaceae)

Closed Gentian

Gentiana andrewsii Griseb.

The petals of Closed Gentian are fused almost all the way to the top. The only insects strong enough to push their way into the flowers are bumblebees (Bombus spp.). The bumblebees obtain both nectar and pollen from the plants, depositing pollen from their chests onto the female parts of flowers.

Flower Colour:

  • Blue

Flowering Season:

  • Summer
  • Fall

Flowering Months:

  • August
  • October
  • September

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in Saskatchewan and “sensitive” in Quebec.

Physical Appearance:

This perennial has one to several unbranched stems that grow 20-100 cm tall. The dark green leaves are lance to oval-shaped and alternate; the uppermost group is often whorled. The bottle-shaped flowers occur in a crowded stem-top cluster, sometimes with a second small cluster on the stem. Each flower has 5 petals forming a closed wrinkly tube, 5 toothed sepals, and two bracts. Fruits are oval-shaped pods that split open to release numerous, small, winged seeds that are carried by wind or water.

Similar Species:

Small Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis virgata (Raf.) Holub.), Oblong-leaved Gentian (Gentiana affinis Griseb.)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Propagation is easier when starting with potted plants or by dividing already established plants.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

Prairie Types:

  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Open Woodlands
  • Prairies
  • Savannahs
  • Wetlands

Moisture Conditions:

  • Moderate
  • Moist
  • Wet

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Loam
  • Organic
Closed Gentian