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Gentiana parryi

Pneumonanthe parryi

Gentiana parryi.  Synonym: Pneumonanthe parryi.  (Parry's Mountain Gentian)
Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Meadows, openings.  Summer, fall.
Above: First and third, Colorado Trail, August, 2009 and
Calico Trail, August 27, 2014.
Left: Eagle Peak Trail, August 18, 2007.

Mountain Gentian is found scattered in meadows where it shines through grasses with its brilliant blue/purple flower.  It is also common just above tree-line on the thin soils of alpine tundra.  The five petals are separated by unusual, slightly toothed projections.  Plants range from a few inches tall on alpine tundra to eighteen inches tall on richer soils in subalpine meadows.  Flower petals may be rounded or pointed.

Sunshine opens the tightly closed flower wide and deep, giving it a second common name, "Bottle Gentian". 

Nineteenth century botanist Charles Parry made the first collection of this plant in Colorado in 1862 and in 1863 his friend George Engelmann named it Gentiana parryi, the name now accepted by national plant expert John Kartesz (ultimate authority for all plant names on this web site).  In 1904 Edward Greene renamed the plant Pneumonanthe parryi, the name now accepted by William Weber. "Pneumo" is Greek for "the wind" or "lungs" and "anthus" is Greek for "flower". 

Charles Parry is honored in the names of dozens of plants.  (Click for more biographical information about Parry.)

Gentiana parryi

Gentiana parryi.  Synonym: Pneumonanthe parryi. (Parry's Mountain Gentian)
Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Meadows, openings.  Summer, fall.
Calico Trail, August 25, 2014 and
Eagle Peak Trail, August 18, 2007

Before the flower unfolds it peers through the bracts.

Gentiana parryi.  Synonym: Pneumonanthe parryi. (Parry's Mountain Gentian)
Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Meadows, openings.  Summer, fall.
Navajo Lake Trail, Lizard Head Wilderness, August 30, 2007.

Gentiana parryi flower color is very consistently blue/purple, so my wife and I were pleasantly surprised to find this lovely lilac flower along the Navajo Lake Trail.

Pneumonanthe parryi

Pneumonanthe parryi

Gentiana parryi.  Synonym: Pneumonanthe parryi. (Parry's Mountain Gentian)
Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Meadows, openings.  Summer, fall.
Horse Creek Trail, August 24, 2004; Spiller/Helmet Mountains Ridge, August 20, 2009; and Wilson Meadow Trail, September 15, 2010.

Flowers are in terminal clusters, usually in groups of three-to-five, and are subtended by the leaf-like bracts which enclosed them in bud stage.  (One bud enclosed in bracts can be seen poking up from behind the flower at right in the top photograph.)

The middle photograph takes a peek at the lovely spotting of the interior that surrounds the pistil and stamens.

The final photograph shows that it pays to look at flowers even when they appear withered.  I peeled open the withered flower which had entirely looked like the strip at far left angled from six o'clock to 11 o'clock.  Surprise, surprise. I found that the interior surface of the withered corolla was still colorful and the withered corolla surrounded a ripening seed capsule. Stamens are still evident to the bottom left of the green seed capsule.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Gentiana parryi