Intense blue star shaped flowers each with a cylindrical tube and spreading petals, a paler upright fringe sits at the base of the petals. Oval shaped leaves form a rosette at the base and stalkless pairs clasp the stem from where the flower emerges.
The iconic Spring Gentian is the jewel in the Burren flora, the sight of its startling blue flowers fully opened in bright sunlight against the grey limestone is remarkable
The Spring Gentian has its stronghold in the Burren in Ireland, it also occurs on the Aran Islands, outside of Ireland it is a species of Arctic-Alpine distribution, generally confined to the tundra of northern Scandinavia and in the higher reaches of the southerly European mountain ranges
Uses and other snipits
Although no ethnobotanical uses have been recorded for Spring gentian in Ireland (Wyse-Jackson, 2014) other species of the gentian family are used as digestive tonics and as bitters to stimulating the appetite
With its astonishingly blue colour, Spring Gentian never fails to delight when it first appears on the Burren landscape as early as March each year
Pale variations of Spring Gentian have been recorded in the Burren and last year 2021, 2022 and again in 2023. It is always fabulous to find these beautiful lilac coloured flowers. Last April (2022) I came upon a beautiful almost white variety, at first glance it appears pure white but on closer investigation reveals the corrolla has a slight touch of mauve.