Early gentian (Gentianella anglica)

loading
Early gentian in flower, closed
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Early gentian fact file

Early gentian description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderGentianales
FamilyGentianaceae
GenusGentianella

This attractive plant has the typical 'trumpet-shaped' flowers characteristic of its family, which are purple with fine white hairs on the inside of the bell, and up to 16 mm long. The leaves are narrow and spear-shaped, and grow from the main stem with no stalks of their own. This particular subspecies is often branched at the base.

Size
Stem length: 4 - 20cm
Top

Early gentian biology

Early gentian flowers during May and June, but can appear as early as April and persist as late as July.

Top

Early gentian range

Early gentian is endemic to the UK, and during the period between 1987 and 1999, it was recorded on 69 10km squares. The centre of distribution is around Wiltshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. There is one subspecies, which is declining in central England and the Midlands, and has not been seen at one site in north Devon since 1995, although it could still re-appear.

Top

Early gentian habitat

This species is found on grazed chalk grassland, but a similar species G. uliginosa is found in the depressions, known as slacks, behind coastal sand dunes. Early gentian was also recorded from dunes on the north Devon coast, but is now believed to be extinct there.

Top

Early gentian status

Classified as Nationally scarce in the UK, and protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, as amended 2002.

IUCN Red List species status – Data Deficient

Top

Early gentian threats

The loss of much of England's chalk grassland and changes in grazing practices for this habitat has seriously reduced the populations of early gentian.

Top

Early gentian conservation

Early gentian is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. There is some doubt as to whether this plant is genetically different to G. uliginosa and another closely related species G. amarella. The latest indications are that G. anglica is the same species as G. uliginosa and, therefore, all three taxa - G. anglica, G. uliginosa and G. amarella - may be considered as one species. However, further analysis is required before this can be proved conclusively but, in the meantime, suitable habitat management advice is being provided to managers of sites where early gentian occurs. This includes setting careful grazing densities between April and October, to aim for an average sward height of about three centimetres, and bare soil amounting to 5% of the total area.

Top

Authentication

Information supplied by English Nature.

http://www.english-nature.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Subspecies
A different race of a species, which is geographically separated from other populations of that species.
Top

References

X
Close

Image credit

Early gentian in flower, closed  
Early gentian in flower, closed

© Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
2 Stanley Terrace
Devizes
Wiltshire
SN10 5AJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1380 728 990
davis.stephen1@googlemail.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Early gentian (Gentianella anglica) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog