Gentian plants

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Gentian plants
Spotted Gentian (Gentiana punctata)

Spotted Gentian ( Gentiana punctata )

Nuclear eudicotyledons
Euasterids I
Order : Enzianartige (Gentianales)
Family : Gentian plants
Scientific name

The gentian plants (Gentianaceae) are a family of plants in the order of the gentian-like (Gentianales). The approximately 80 to 87 genera with 900 to 1655 species are represented worldwide.


Illustration of Exacum tetragonum

Appearance and leaves

They are usually annual , biennial or perennial herbaceous plants , more rarely woody plants: shrubs , trees or lianas . All parts of the plant are hairless.

The mostly opposite, sessile leaves are simple and smooth-edged. In some taxa , the opposite leaves are partially connected by a thickened bar. In some herbaceous species, the leaves are basal concentrated. Stipules are missing.

Inflorescences and flowers

The flowers stand individually, in terminal or axillary inflorescences , mostly it is a simple or compound dichasium , with or without bracts . The hermaphrodite flowers are almost always radially symmetrical and usually four or five-fold. The four or five (rarely up to twelve) sepals are fused at least at the base. The four or five (rarely up to twelve) mostly large and strikingly colored petals are fused at least at the base ( sympetalie ). There is only a circle with four or five (rarely up to twelve) stamens ; they are fused with the corolla tube. Sepals, petals and stamens are always present in the same number per flower. Two carpels have become a top permanent ovary grown. Some species are heterostyle . The pollination is usually by insects ( Entomophilie ).

Fruits and seeds

Usually bilobed capsule fruits are formed with mostly many seeds; Berries with few seeds are very rare . The small seeds contain oil and can be winged or wingless.


Bitter substances are often present in the herbaceous taxa in particular ; they are seco- iridoids .

Tribus Exaceae: inflorescence from above of Sebaea exacoides
Tribe Chironieae: habit, leaves and inflorescence of Ixanthus viscosus
Tribe Chironieae: Sabatia stellaris in the habitat
Tribe Chironieae: Eustoma grandiflorum varieties were bred for
growing cut flowers
Tribe Chironieae: flowers of Orphium frutescens
Tribus Potalieae: Anthocleista grandiflora grows as a tree
Tribus Gentianeae: Section of an inflorescence of Frasera albomarginata
Tribus Gentianeae: Swallowwort gentian ( Gentiana asclepiadea )
Tribus Gentianeae: common fringed gentian ( Gentianopsis ciliata )
Tribus Gentianeae: Section of an inflorescence of Halenia rhyacophila
Tribus Gentianeae: flower of the Carinthian Tauernflower ( Lomatogonium carinthiacum )
Tribus Gentianeae: Swamp gentian ( Swertia perennis )
Flower of Voyria aphylla


This family was established in 1789 under the name "Gentianae" by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum , 141. The type genus is Gentiana L. The taxa of the earlier families: Chironiaceae Bercht. & J. Presl , Coutoubeaceae Mart. , Potaliaceae Mart. , Saccifoliaceae Maguire & Pires are now included in the Gentianaceae family.

The Gentianaceae family is divided into six tribes with about 80 to 87 (up to 95) genera and 900 to 1655 species:

  • Tribus Saccifolieae (Maguire & Pires) Struwe, Thiv, VAAlbert & Kadereit : It contains four to five genera with around 19 species in tropical South America :
    • Curtia Cham. & Schltdl. : The eightor sospecies are distributed from Mexico via Central America to Argentina and are absent in the Andes region.
    • Hockinia Gardner : It contains only one species:
    • Saccifolium Maguire & Pires : it contains only one species:
    • Tapeinostemon Benth. : The seven or so species are common in northeastern South America.
    • Voyriella Miq. : It contains only one type:
      • Voyriella parviflora (Miq.) Miq. (Syn .: Voyria parviflora Miq. , Voyriella oxycarpha Sandwith ): It iswidespreadin northeastern tropical South America and Panama .
  • Tribus Helieae Gilg : It contains about 22 genera with about 190 species in the Neotropic :
    • Adenolisianthus (Progel) Gilg : It contains only one species:
      • Adenolisianthus arboreus (Spruce ex ProGel) Gilg (Syn .: lisianthus arboreus Spruce ex ProGel , Helia arborea (Spruce ex ProGel) Kuntze , Irlbachia alata . Subsp arborea . (Spruce ex ProGel) JGMPers & Maas , Chelonanthus fruticosus Maguire & Boom ): You is common in Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.
    • Aripuana Struwe, Maas, & V. Albert : It contains only one species:
      • Aripuana cullmaniorum Struwe, Maas, & V. Albert : It is common in the Brazilian southeastern Amazon region.
    • Calolisianthus Gilg : The approximately six species are distributed in Brazil and Bolivia .
    • Celiantha Maguire : The only three species are common in northern South America.
    • Chelonanthus Gilg : The ten or so species are distributed from Mexico to Central and South America.
    • Chorisepalum Gleason & Wodehouse : The approximately five species are distributed from Venezuela to Surinam .
    • Helia Mart. : The only two species are common from Brazil to Paraguay .
    • Irlbachia Mart. : The nineor sospecies are distributed in Colombia, Venezuela , Brazil and the Guyanas .
    • Lagenanthus Gilg : It contains only one species:
      • Lagenanthus princeps (Lindl.) Gilg (Syn .: Lehmanniella princeps (Lindl.) JESimonis ex PJMMaas , Lisianthus princeps Lindl. ): It is native to northern South America on the Colombian-Venezuelan border.
    • Lehmanniella Gilg : The only two species occur in Peru and Colombia.
    • Macrocarpaea (Griseb.) Gilg : The 90 to 100 species are distributed from Central to South America and the Greater Antilles.
    • Neblinantha Maguire : The only two species are native to northern South America on the Brazilian-Venezuelan border.
    • Prepusa Mart. : The five or so species are common in southeastern Brazil.
    • Purdieanthus Gilg : It contains only one species:
      • Purdieanthus pulcher (Hook.) Gilg (Syn .: Lehmanniella pulchra (Hook.) Simonis ex. PJMMaas , Lisianthius pulcher Hook. ): It is native to northern South America on the Colombian-Venezuelan border.
    • Rogersonanthus Maguire & BMBoom : The only three species are common in northern South America and on the island of Trinidad.
    • Senaea Taub. : The only two types are common in southeastern Brazil.
    • Sipapoantha Maguire & BMBoom : It contains only one species:
    • Symbolanthus G.Don : The 30or sospecies are common in Costa Rica , Panama and northern South America.
    • Tachia Aubl. : The approximately 13 species are distributed in Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil and the Guyanas.
    • Tetrapollinia Maguire & BMBoom : It contains only one species:
    • Wurdackanthus Maguire (often found in Symbolanthus ): It contains at most two species in northern South America.
    • Yanomamua J.R. Grant , Maas & Struwe : It contains only one species:
    • Zonanthus Griseb .: It contains only one species:
  • Tribus Potalieae Reichenbach : The is divided into three sub- tribes and contains about 13 genera with about 154 tropical species:
    • Subtribus Potaliinae: It contains three genera:
      • Anthocleista R.Br. : The approximately 15 species are distributed in tropical Africa, Madagascar and the Comoros .
      • Fagraea Thunb. : The approximately 35 species are distributed from Southeast Asia via Australia to Pacific islands.
      • Potalia Aubl. : The approximately nine species occur from Costa Rica to Bolivia.
    • Subtribus Faroinae: It contains nine genera:
    • Subtribus Lisianthiinae: It contains only one genus:
      • Lisianthius P.Browne (Syn .: Lisianthus P.Browne orth. Var., Lecanthus Griseb. , Leianthus Griseb. ): The approximately 30 species are distributed in Central America and the Greater Antilles.
  • Tribus Gentianeae Colla : It is divided into two subtribes and contains around 17 genera with around 950 species:
    • Subtribus Gentianinae: It contains three genera:
      • Crawfurdia Wall. : The approximately 16 species are distributed in India, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar and China (14 species).
      • Gentians ( Gentiana L. ): The approximately 360 species are mainly found in Asia. A few species each occur in Europe, North and South America, northeast Africa and eastern Australia.
      • Tripterospermum flower : With about 24 kinds; they occur in East Asia.
    • Subtribus Swertiinae: It contains about 13 genera:
      • Bartonia H.L. Mühl. ex Willd. : With about four types. They occur in North America.
      • Dwarf genes or hair throat ( Comastoma (Wettst.) Toyok. ): With about seven to 25 species that occur in Europe, Asia and North America.
      • Frasera Walter : The 15 or so species are common in North America.
      • Kranziane ( Gentianella Moench ): The approximately 250 species are distributed in Eurasia, North and South America, Africa and New Zealand.
      • Fringed gentians ( Gentianopsis Ma ): The approximately 16 to 24 species are common in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.
      • Halenia Borkh. : Of the approximately 80 species, approximately 76 are distributed from Central to South America; the other four or so are found in Asia and North America.
      • Jaeschkea In short : The two to four species occur in the Himalayas in northern India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Sikkim and in China (two species).
      • Latouchea Franch. : It contains only one type:
      • Tauernflower or scars ( Lomatogonium A.Braun ): With about 21 species; they occur in the temperate zones of Eurasia.
      • Megacodon (Hemsl.) Harry Sm .: The only two species occur in the Himalayas in India, Nepal, Sikkim , Bhutan and in the Chinese provinces of Hubei and Sichuan.
      • Obolaria L .: It contains only one species:
      • Pterygocalyx Maxim. : It contains only one type:
      • Marsh gentian or tarant ( Swertia L. ): The leaves are arranged in a whirling manner. The 150 or so are distributed almost worldwide, mainly in Asia and Africa, with a few species each in North America and Europe, and there are 75 species in China. Here too:
      • Veratrilla Baill. ex franch. : The only two species occur from the eastern Himalayas from India, Bhutan and Sikkim to China.
  • Is not classified in any tribe:
    • Voyria Aubl. : They are chlorophyllless with dust-fine seeds. Of the approximately 19 species, 18 are distributed in the Neotropic, only one species ( Voyria primuloides Baker ) occurs in West Africa; among these types is for example:

Some genera are also classified in the Loganiaceae family by different authors .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gentianaceae at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  2. ^ Gentianaceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Maria Fernanda Calió, 2009: Neotropical Gentianaceae. In: Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. Last accessed on February 11, 2014
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al David John Mabberley: Mabberley's Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses . 3. Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  5. a b c d e f g h i Ting-nung Ho & James S. Pringle: Gentianaceae , p. 1 - online with the same text as the printed work , In: Wu Zheng-yi & Peter H. Raven (eds.): Flora of China , Volume 16 - Gentianaceae through Boraginaceae , Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis 1995, ISBN 0-915279-33-9
  6. Werner Greuter & Rosa Rankin: Bisgoeppertia (Gentianaceae) unraveled. Account of a small genus of the Greater Antilles , In: Willdenowia - Annals of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem , Volume 38, Number 1, 2008, pp. 177-185: doi : 10.3372 / wi.38.38112
  7. ^ K. Marhold, 2011: Gentianaceae. In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity . Last accessed on February 11, 2014
  8. JR Grant, PJM Maas & L. Struwe: Yanomamua araca (Gentianaceae), a new genus and species from Serra do Araca, an outlier of the Guayana Region in Amazonas State, Brazil. In: Harvard papers in botany. Volume 11, Issue 1, 2006, pp. 29-37.

Web links

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