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Soapwort Gentian
Gentiana saponaria

Supposedly this is an uncommon wildflower to encounter! It took me a while to identify it, not knowing that it’s flowers typically remain relatively closed as in the photo.

It turns out the flowers remain closed so that most pollinators are unable to access the nectar and pollen. Except bumblebees which are strong enough to get down in there. This benefits the plant, because it then doesn’t waste it’s resources (pollen and nectar) on less efficient pollinators.

Alternate Names: Harvestbells
Size: 8-20" tall
Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)
Habitat: Moist woodland margins, near creeks and ponds or land depressions, in partial shade.
Identification: "Harvestbells or soapwort gentian, a perennial, grows 8-20 in. tall, having light-green, opposite, lance-shade leaves on slender stems. The blue-violet flowers are bottle-shaped, opening only partly, and occur in terminal or axillary clusters". From wildflower.org  Blooms August-October

All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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