The gentian flower is a genus of the gentianaceae family, which holds a staggering 400 species to its name. These flowers are considered to be very hardy and have been known to grow across all of the continents except the Antarctic. The bold, beautiful colors of the gentian tend to vary depending upon their region. For example, the blue gentian flower is prevalent in Europe – with yellow and white flowers also appearing, though with less frequency. On the other hand, in New Zealand and South America, the red gentian is most common. In the United States there are two gentian varieties that dominate – the fringed gentian and the closed gentian. The closed gentian is easy to spot, as their purple blue flowers – which bloom between September and November – never completely open, and remain large, colorful buds throughout their life cycle. The fringed gentian is much less common and harder to spot. These flowers tend to hide in darker, wooded areas, and produce small blue blossoms with a delicate fringe surrounding the outer part of their petals.
The gentian flower has made itself useful in both medical and artistic circles. As a curative, these plants are considered second to none as a stomachic tonic; they are also extensively used to treat jaundice, intermittent fevers, and biliary dyskinesia. The extract of gentian flowers are also a common ingredient in homeopathic cures for things such as hair loss, weight loss and fungal infections. By way of culture, gentians have been mentioned in a good deal of poetry and literature from well known writers like Emily Dickinson who wrote “Fringed Gentian,” and Mary E. Wilkins’ simply titled short story, “Gentian.” Alongside herbal medicine and art, gentian flowers are sometimes used as flavoring agents. Although these extracts have appeared in soft drinks and beers, they are most often used as bitter liquors.
As a gift, the gentian flower is pretty unique. These unusual looking, brilliantly hued flowers are often given as an alternative to the traditional rose or daisy. They represent many things such as loveliness, intrinsic value, and femininity. When given as a gift, gentians are most often presented in mixed bouquets; however, they can also be given in a bouquet made up entirely of this particular flower, or as a simple, single token.