Gentiana is a large genus of about 400 species in the family Gentianaceae, distributed around the world. These plants grow in a wide variety of habitats and occur on all continents except the Antarctica.
They have trumpet-shaped, bright colored flowers on short stalks. The flowers have 4 or 5 sepals and also the same number of stamens and petals. They are great for cut flowers and flower arrangements.
The genus was named after King Gentius of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), the last Illyrian King who discovered the medicinal benefits of Gentiana.
Gentiana symbolizes passion, charm, loveliness and sweetness.
Interesting facts about Gentiana:
The Symbolic Meaning of Gentian
The flower is used as an emblem or symbol of countries, cities and various organizations. It can also be found on many souvenirs and art works.
Gentian is one of the three symbolic flowers of the Alps in Europe.
The plant is also popular in Japan. It has been admired by Japanese people since the Fujiwara period (898-1185).
Benefits and Uses
Gentiana has been used in herbal medicine to treat menstrual bleeding, conjunctivitis, vitiligo, insect and snake bites, wounds, fever, muscle spasms and digestive problems. The plant has also been used to fight against anorexia, flatulence, nausea, anemia and depression.
It is believed that Gentiana lutea was introduced into herbal medicine by King Gentius. The plant was primarily used for cleaning wounds and to stimulate appetite.
Gentiana is included in weight-loss products, perfumes and skin care products.
Some species are the source of a flavoring in liqueurs. Gentian liqueurs originated in the historical French region of Auvergne, where Gentian grows wild.
Most of the species have beautiful, vivid blue flowers, but white, yellow, purple and red varieties are also available.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
These plants range from dwarf species just 5 cm (2 inches) tall to the larger varieties that grow up to 90 cm (3 ft) in height.
Gentiana will grow best in rich, moist and well drained soil, with a pH level between 5.0 and 7.5.