Gentiana catesbaei

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Elliott's Gentian
1818 34 AmericanMedicalBotany engr byAnnin and Smith 3542741517.jpg
illustration circa 1820[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana L.
Species: G. catesbaei
Binomial name
Gentiana catesbaei

Gentiana catesbaei, commonly called Elliot's gentian, American gentian, or bottle gentian is a wildflower native the eastern North America. It grows in the swampy areas from Virginia to Florida and has showy, pale blue flowers which appear in the late fall from September to December.


The Catawba American Indians were known to use the Elliott's gentian for medicinal purposes. They would steep the roots in hot water and then use the produced liquid to soothe sore backs. This is not surprising as the European gentian, G. lutea, has been used as a digestive tonic and was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1820 to 1995 as a gastric stimulant. In fact, the very name of the genus is derived from Gentius, a king of Illyria who recognized the tonic properties of the plant.[2]


  1. ^ Jacob Bigelow. American medical botany: being a collection of the native medicinal plants of the United States. Boston: Cummings and Hilliard, 1817-1820. /
  2. ^ Weiner, Michael A. (1990). Earth Medicine, Earth Food. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0449905896.