Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

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.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Gentianaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 August 2015, 07:12 UTC,
[accessed 21 September 2015]
Wikipedia contributors, 'Gentiana', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 September 2015, 06:05 UTC,
[accessed 22 September 2015]
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/22/2015).
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search Search for Gentianaceae