The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Gentian: Bitterroot, Bitterwort, Gentian Root, Yellow Gentian, Felwort
Scientific Name: Gentiana lutea L.
Family: Gentianaceae


People usually associate Gentian with small blue flowers nestling between the mountain rocks. However, the species Gentiana lutea used as medicinal herb has golden yellow flowers and, unlike many of its blue relatives, towers above the mountain pastures with a stately height of up to 1.80 meters. The sturdy plant, with its hollow stem bearing large, prominently-veined leaves and its imposing, wheel-shaped inflorescences, used to be regarded as a bothersome weed by the mountain farmers. They were so successful in eradicating it that today Yellow Gentian is a strictly protected plant. The perennial plant only flowers after it has reached an advanced age, usually after 5 to 7 years, sometimes not until after 10 years, and then from July to August. It connects with the earth via a long, thick rootstock which can weigh up to 7 kg.