Threatened Gentiana Andrewsii found at Alewife
added to website September 20, 2010

We have just been informed by Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program of Ma. Fish and Wildlife that the Bottle Gentian (Gentiana Andrewsii) is "endangered" and not "threatened" FAR is filling out the form today. Their website needed updating we were told.The area will be protected as a result.

Flocks of Bottle Gentian were discovered this week in an undisclosed location by a DCR ranger on the Alewife Reservation's Little River ecosystem.

The Closed or Bottle Gentian is a threatened species in Massachusetts and New Hampshire according to the Mass. Fish and Wildlife Department and USDA.

Gentians are amongst the most desirable of alpine plants, and of blue flowers in general, but considered difficult to establish. The genus is the largest in the family, and from the horticultural standpoint, the most important. The blue gentian is highly celebrated by tourists in the Alps also say naturalist websites.

This one, is perhaps the most beautiful of gentians, notes a web naturalist, and may be one of the choicest and most delicate of American wild flowers. It has been proposed as our national flower, and, "while sought after less than the trailing arbutus" notes wikipedia, it is in greater danger of extermination in certain states because it is a biennial, and because it has never been successfully cultivated. Gentiana andrewsii, are delightful in appearance. They are an indescribably rich cobalt blue, with a flower shape totally out of sorts with nearly all other of our plants. The appearance of these gentians, and most other gentians, indicate the imminent frost of fall, states a nature blogger. They are among our latest plants to bloom, not long before short days and cool nights put an end to another season's floral display. Large, fuzzy bumblebees are primary pollinators, and they force their way in via the tip of the flower, which has an opening but is virtually sealed up. They fly to the flower, and begin pushing at the tip, forcing their head in, and eventually, their entire body (a bee in a bag). It bumbles about inside, thoroughly pollinating the stigma, probably with pollen from another plant. More information on Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP). The Alewife Reservation has dense and richly varied ecosystems that many want to see preserved for posterity.

Ellen Mass
Friends of Alewife Reservation
617 415-1884 office
617 290-4864 cell

186 Alewife Brook Parkway
Cambridge, MA. 02138