Gentiana verna

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaGentianaceaeGentianaGentiana verna


A perennial herb of open, often stony, limestone grassland and calcareous glacial drift. It is also found on hummocks in calcareous flush communities, and in Ireland also on limestone pavement and fixed dunes. Upland in England, ascending from about 350 m to c. 730 m on Little Fell (Westmorland), but lowland in Ireland on the Burren (Co. Clare) down to near sea level.



World Distribution

European Arctic-montane element; also in C. Asia.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.4

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1153

Life form information

Height (cm): 7

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 5

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 22

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: 0.21

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (209a)
Elkington TT
1963.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 91. Gentiana verna L. Journal of Ecology. 51:755-767.
Halliday G
1997.  A Flora of Cumbria.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Wigginton MJ
1999.  British Red Data Books. 1. Vascular plants, edn 3.