Herb: Marsh Gentian

Latin name: Gentiana pneumonanthe

Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)

Medicinal use of Marsh Gentian:

Although we have no record of medicinal use for this species, like most other members of this genus the root probably contains various bitter compounds and can be used as a general tonic for the digestive system. See G. lutea for more details of potential uses.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

Habitat of the herb:

Boggy meadows, fens, moist heaths and sandy or peaty clearings in woods. Very local and decreasing in Britain.

Other uses of Marsh Gentian:

A blue dye is obtained from the flowers.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It requires an acid humus-rich compost and should not be allowed to dry out. The seed can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10C for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 - 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5C will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings usually flower in their second year. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring.

Cultivation of Marsh Gentian:

Boggy meadows, fens, moist heaths and sandy or peaty clearings in woods. Very local and decreasing in Britain.

Known hazards of Gentiana pneumonanthe:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.