Gentianaceae (Gentian) Family
Closed Gentian may also be known as Bottle Gentian, Soapwort Gentian and Stiff Gentian.
The plant is an upright, smooth perennial. Its preferred habitat is at the edge of streams, rich woods and roadside ditches. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region except directly at seaside.
The leaves are opposite on the stem, consisting of one whole part, no lobes and no teeth. The leaf stalk is short or nearly clasping the stem. The shape is widest at the middle to lance-like, with a wedge-shaped base.
The flowers are mostly in a cluster at the end of the flowering stem; always appearing to be closed, but are actually slightly opened at the tip. The calyx is lobed; the corolla is tubular to funnel-form. The color is light blue. Flowers occur in the autumn.
Fruit is a capsule.
The Closed Gentian is one of the most common perennial gentians and the easiest to grow in a moist wildflower garden. The juice of this species is slightly soapy, thus the name 'Soapwort.' The closely related G. quinquefolia is an annual, has light blue or lilac opened flowers with bristle-pointed lobes and a four-sided stem. That species occurs from southwest Main south to Florida, Louisiana and upward to Missouri.