Erect, annual-perennial glabrous herbs. Basal leaves forming rosette, cauline opposite, loosely arranged, sessile. Inflorescence axillary-terminal, 2-3 flowered cyme. Flowers zygomorphic, long pedicellate, pentamerous. Calyx cylindric-campanulate, 5-lobed, lobes irregularly un equal, never distichous. Corolla 5-lobed, campanulate, variously coloured: pink, purple, blue or white, plicae or subsdiary lobes of the corolla absent, naked inside (without any fimbriae or ciliae), margin of lobes entire. Stamens alternating and corresponding with petals. Anthers versatile, filaments adnate to the corolla tube in the middle or below. Nectaries epipetalous at the base of the corolla tube, double the number of petals. Ovary superior, unilocular with numerous ovules and parietal placentation with a distinct gynaphore, stigmas 2, prominent, sessile or subsessile. Capsule stipitate, ± exserted. Seeds elliptic-oval, striately reticulated or with subsmooth surface.
A genus of c.20 species, distributed in high and cold mountains of Europe, Asia and America.
Aloitis Rafin. differs from Gentianella Moench (s.str.) on the basis of naked corolla throat, unequal calyx lobes and distinct gynophore. It differs from Gentianopsis Ma on the basis of unequal calyx lobes which are not distichous, pentamerous flowers, reticulate-smooth seeds, mucronate corolla lobes, and a pair of epipetalous nectaries. Aloitis Rafin. differs from
Comastoma Toyok. on the basis of naked corolla throat, a pair of epipetalous nectaries and a distinct gynophore (see Omer S., M. Qaiser and S.I. Ali in Pak. J. Bot. 20:153-160. 1988). Simultaneously, the chromosome number also differs from Gentianopsis Ma (2n= 36).