Gentiana saponaria
Soapwort gentian
Image of Gentiana saponaria

Photo by Kitty Kohout 

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Key Characteristics

Medium-sized forb (80 cm) of moist prairies; leaves opposite, lanceolate with ciliate margins; open tubular flowers blue with large erect lobes in between folds in the floral tube; borne in terminal clusters.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Gentiana saponaria

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


No habitat data are known for Michigan's sole collection of this species. Elsewhere in its range, this species occurs in a variety of moist prairie, thicket, and woodland habitats, usually on sandy soils. This species was last documented in Michigan in 1867.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

In the Chicago region this gentian occurs with prairie species such as little bluestem, false-indigo, tall coreopsis, rattlesnake-master, Indian grass, and Culver's root, as well as black and white oak.


If found to still be extant in the state, this species would likely require prescribed fire and other management that promotes and maintains prairie and savanna habitat.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 18, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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