All Floras      Advanced Search
FNA Vol. 14 Page 73, 76, 79, 80, 81, 84 Login | eFloras Home | Help
FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 14 | Gentianaceae | Gentiana

9. Gentiana calycosa Grisebach in W. J. Hooker, Fl. Bor.-Amer. 2: 58, plate 146. 1837.

Explorers’ or mountain bog or Mount Rainier or Rainier pleated gentian

Gentiana calycosa subsp. asepala Maguire; G. calycosa var. asepala (Maguire) C. L. Hitchcock; G. calycosa var. obtusiloba (Rydberg) C. L. Hitchcock; G. calycosa var. xantha A. Nelson

Herbs perennial, 0.5–4.5 dm, glabrous. Stems 2–15, terminal from caudex, ± decumbent. Leaves cauline, ± evenly spaced; blade ovate to elliptic or orbiculate, 1–5 cm × 6–30 mm, margins glabrous, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescences solitary flowers or 2–5-flowered heads, sometimes with additional flowers at 1–3 nodes. Flowers: calyx (5–)10–20 mm, tube uncleft, lobes lan­ceolate to widely ovate or elliptic, some or all occasion­ally ± foliaceous, 3–8(–10) mm, or tube deeply cleft and spathaceous, lobes reduced, linear, 0–3 mm, or some or all vestigial or absent, margins not ciliate; corolla deep blue, usually with greenish yellow dots adaxially on lobes, rarely violet or pale yellow, campanulate, open, 25–50 mm, lobes spreading, oblong-ovate or ovate-triangular to orbiculate, 5–13 mm, free portions of plicae divided less than 1/2 their length into 2 or 3 triangular segments threadlike only toward apex, rarely undivided; anthers distinct. Seeds not winged. 2n = 26.

Flowering summer–fall. Wet mountain meadows, rocky slopes; 1000–3900 m; Alta., B.C.; Calif., Idaho, Mont., Nev., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wyo.

In addition to the color forms noted in the description, a bicolored form of Gentiana calycosa in southwestern Washington has blue corollas with the center of the distal third of the corolla lobes, including the short-acuminate tip, white.

Gentiana calycosa varies greatly in stature and in the size of its leaves and flowers. Most plants of G. calycosa from the Pacific coastal region, including western Washington and Oregon and most of California, have tubular calyces with well-developed, ovate to elliptic lobes varying in size but usually 3–8 mm. In Canada such plants also prevail east to Alberta; southward, in the United States, they also prevail in Wyoming. From eastern Washington and Oregon to Idaho and parts of Montana, and in Nevada and Utah, the calyces are usually cleft and spathaceous, with the lobes much reduced, less than 3.5 mm, and linear, or vestigial or absent. Extreme forms of such plants have been called subsp. or var. asepala. Because of the sporadic rather than continuous distribution of such forms, the intergradation, especially in the vicinity of Mount Rainier, Washington, and in parts of Montana, where populations may include plants approaching both extremes along with intermediates, and the lack of correlation with other morphological variation, such plants are not distinguished taxonomically in this flora. To some extent their occurrence appears to be correlated with warmer, drier regions, and may be influenced by the habitat.

In most of its range, Gentiana calycosa grows in wet alpine meadows and similar moist habitats, but in the western Cascades it almost always grows in drier, north-facing sites on rocky slopes and cliffs. (T. Harvey, pers. comm.). Plants of G. calycosa in well-drained rocky slopes were distinguished as G. saxicola English (1934), not Grisebach (1838). According to C. S. English (1934), these plants differ from those of wet alpine meadows in having erect rather than decum­bent stems; internodes mostly about as long as the leaves rather than distal internodes much longer than the leaves; and spreading rather than erect calyx lobes, which are larger and proportionately wider. According to Harvey, in contrast, the stems of the plants from the drier, rocky sites in the western Cascades are more likely to have decumbent stems. No consistent association of these morphological variations or correlation with geographic distribution was substantiated in the studies for this flora, but further study would be desirable, as molecular phylogenetic studies (A. Favre, pers. comm.) suggest that taxonomic recognition of these ecotypes might be appropriate.

There are records of hybrids of Gentiana calycosa with G. affinis var. affinis and G. newberryi var. newberryi.


Related Objects  
  • Distribution Map
  • Map

     |  eFlora Home |  People Search  |  Help  |  ActKey  |  Hu Cards  |  Glossary  |