Gentiana bavarica (NL: "Beierse gentiaan" / EN: Bavarian Gentian / DE: Bayerischer Enzian/ FR: Gentiana de Bavière) is a plant in the Gentinaceae family. It is a hemicryptophyte found from the subalpine level to subnivale height (1500-2500 m, rarely to 3600 m), flowering between June and September with deep blue crowns. It can be found in the Alps and the Carpathians in moist meadows, rock and debris in source areas on fresh or moist, usually calcareous, rocky soils. There are a number of closely related species in this genus, looking very similar and proper determination is not always easy.
"Gentiana" is the Greek name for this plant, and was first used about 50-100 AD. According to Dioscoroides and Pliny, this plant got its Greek name after the last king of Illyria, Genthios [Genthius, Gentius] (180-68 BC). Illyria was located close to today's Albania. Supposedly Genthios discovered the pharmacological properties of gentians. Genthios and Gentian is still used as given names, in Albania and other places; Genthios for males, Genthis for females, and Gentian for both genders.
Image: Tre Cime di Lavaredo (IT) - 05/07/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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