Gentianaceae, the Gentian Family
The Gentian Family is a medium size family made up of trees, shrubs forbs and herbs.
Botanical characteristics include; actinomorphic, bisexual flowers with fused sepals and petals; stamens alternate to the corolla lobes and attached to the inside of the petals (epipetalous). The fruits are mostly capsules that split in two, in a few species the fruit is a berry. Leaves may be in a basal rosette, usually opposite but may be alternate. Flowers typically have 5 lobes in the corolla and 5 sepals.
The Gentiana represents one of the larger genera with about 350 species world-wide appreciated for their large deep blue flowers and other colors including red, yellow, pink and white.
Plants of economic importance include the Gentians used for various soft drinks and liqueurs and have properties useful in herbal teas and other remedies. Cultivated Gentians are readily available and are commonly used in rock gardens.
The Plant List report Gentianaceae have 87 plant genera and 1,500 accepted species names.
In Arizona there are approximately 20 species from Gentianaceae including Centaurium (Zeltnera), Eustoma, Frasera, Gentianella, Gentianopsis and Swertia.