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Gentiana_lutea - L.

Common Name Yellow Gentian
Family Gentianaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Contraindicated with gastric or duodenal ulcer patients. Possible headaches, nausea and vomiting [301].
Habitats Grassy alpine and sub-alpine pastures, usually on calcareous soils[9, 50].
Range C. and S. Europe.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Gentiana_lutea Yellow Gentian


Gentiana_lutea Yellow Gentian

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Gentiana_lutea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Asterias hybrida. Asterias lutea. Coilantha biloba. Gentiana major.

Habitats

Edible Uses

The root is sometimes used in the manufacture of gentian bitters[183]. The root contains sugar and mucilage[2] (this is probably a reference to its medicinal properties). The root was occasionally used as a flavouring in beer before the use of hops (Humulus lupulus) became widespread[4].

Medicinal Uses

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Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness[238]. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite[4]. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system[238], and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects[4]. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant and stomachic[4, 7, 9, 14, 21, 165]. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia[238]. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers[238]. The root, which can be as thick as a person's arm and has few branches[239], is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[4]. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Gentiana lutea as a tonic (see [302] for critics of commission E).

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high[239]. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight[200, 239]. Most species will grow well in the rock garden[200]. This species is easily grown in any good garden soil so long as it is deep enough to accommodate its roots[187, 239], though it prefers alkaline conditions[238]. It prefers full sun but succeeds in partial shade[111]. A slow-growing plant, it takes many years to reach its full stature[239]. A moisture loving plant, growing well by water, it prefers to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer and it grows better in the north and west of Britain[1]. Plants are very deep-rooted and are intolerant of root disturbance[4, 200]. They are very long lived, to 50 years or more[9]. A very ornamental plant[1], it takes about 3 years to reach flowering size from seed[4]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in Europe[4, 57].

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame[200]. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically[200, 239]. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture[239]. Following this with a period of at least 5 - 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination[239]. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed[239]. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark[239]. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 - 7 years to reach flowering size[239]. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring[238].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

50200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

ethno   Tue Nov 25 2008

if you would like some seeds, there are in ethnoplants

Ethnoplants seeds gentiana lutea

naim gjinaj   Tue Sep 1 2009

who want to by gentiana lutea because i hade plant in albania if you know someone please tell me to contakt them my email address is free2naimi@yahoo.co.uk

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