FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Gentiana nivalis, Alpine Gentian

Gentiana nivalis; The alpine gentian is generally found in open grasslands and open heather areas. Although it is a small annual plant it is quite conspicuous and an attractive "little one". Blue flowers are common but occasionally one can find white flowering alpine gentians.
Within the Gentian family, the Alpine Gentian is the only common Gentiana species on Iceland. Nearly all others belong to the Gentianella genus. Gentiana nivalis has clear white appendages within the petals (see photo). It has a corolla with a 5 petal-lobes. whereas Gentianella species have 4 petals and don't have the apendages of Gentiana nivalis but have bearded throats inside the corollal tube. One species which was regarded to be a Gentianella species (G. tenella), Slender Gentian, also has 4-parted petals, but nevertheless, this species is now placed in the genus Comastoma: Comastoma tenellum.
Another member of the Gentian family is Lomatogonium rotatum Arctic Felwort). This species has, like the snow Gentian a 5-parted corolla but it lacks the appendages.
Gentiana nivalis is a member of the gentian family (Gentianaceae). The Icelandic name of this species is Dýragras.

  Back to general list of all plant species (entries start)

  Back to home page

A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


white flowering alpine gentian
single plant
focus on single flower
reload original photo

white flowers

single plant

focus on single flower

reload original photo

 Press on photo for full size

Natural History of Iceland Site   Dutch