Gentianella quinquefolia
Stiff gentian
Image of Gentianella quinquefolia

Photo by Elaine M. Chittendon 

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Key Characteristics

Small forb (40 cm) of calcareous soils; leaves opposite, lanceolate; tubular flowers pale blue, small (1-2 cm long) in dense terminal clusters.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair11895
Distribution map for Gentianella quinquefolia

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.


Known from alkaline soils in marshy meadows, in mucky areas along river and stream banks, and wooded edges and hillsides.

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

Acer rubrum (red maple), Agalinis purpurea (purple false foxglove), Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog-peanut), Bromus kalmii (prairie brome), Carpinus caroliniana (blue-beech), Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle), Coreopsis tripteris (tall coreopsis), Cornus foemina (gray dogwood), Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod), Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset), Eutrochium maculatum (joe-pye-weed), Fraxinus nigra (black ash), Helenium autumnale (sneezeweed), Helianthus giganteus (tall sunflower), Liparis loeselii (Loesel's twayblade), Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree), Monarda fistulosa (wild-bergamot), Parnassia glauca (grass-of-Parnassus), Pedicularis lanceolata (swamp-betony), Physocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Prunella vulgaris (self-heal), Prunus serotina (wild black cherry), Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry), Rudbeckia fulgida (black-eyed-Susan), R. hirta (black-eyed-Susan), Scutellaria lateriflora (mad-dog skullcap), Solidago altissima (tall goldenrod), S. ohioensis (Ohio goldenrod), S. patula (swamp goldenrod), Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), Spartina pectinata (cordgrass), Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster), S. puniceum (swamp aster).


Status surveys are needed, as many records are quite old and there is little habitat data. Conservation of hydrology is likely necessary to maintain this species.

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 16, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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