Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

We came back from our latest trip to find that another of the gentians in the alpine bed had started to bloom.  Like many gentians the blue is startling, and in this case a relatively big flower.  I grew this native of the western caucausus from seed distributed by the Alpine Garden Society in 2013.  It has about 6 or 7 such flowers on a plant the size of teacup.  The markings are very intricate and there is a wonderful fringing on the fused part of the corolla that looks almost like tiny feathers.

Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

Apparently, although it’s not common in the wild this is a widely circulated gentian that easily hybridizes with other forms so it’s not easy to know which is the original species.  Here is another view of the ‘feathers’.

Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

Seeing this gentian in the alpine bed was a refreshing reminder of the trip that we just took to Mt Rainier.  Hiking at Rainier at this time of year is to immerse yourself in fields of wildflowers.  It’s a reminder of how these plants really want to grow.  Each species stakes out its favorite spot (sometimes heavily overlapping with neighbors).

Mt Rainier with glacier lilies and pasqueflowers

Mt Rainier with glacier lilies and pasqueflowers

We stayed a the Park Sevice’s Paradise Lodge for part of the time.  You can literally walk out the door onto paths up the mountain.

Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) on Mt Rainier

Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) on Mt Rainier

Far and away the dominant flowers on the hillsides were avalanche lilies (which are really erythroniums).

Sides of the hills dominated by avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum)

Sides of the hills dominated by avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum)

Avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum)

Avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum) and fan-leaved cinquefoil (Potentilla flabellifolia)

Avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum)

Avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum)

To think of how we have to work at growing these little beasties leaves is only to be amazed at nature’s bounty.

Hard to capture the profusion of Avalanche lilies

Hard to capture the profusion of Avalanche lilies

And then coming home to the east coast again, we were greeted by the rain lilies that had popped up in our absence.

Lycoris squamigera

Lycoris squamigera

Lycoris squamigera

Lycoris squamigera

Pretty nice for a low effort plant that comes like this in August every year.

4 comments on “Gentiana paradoxa

  1. rusty duck

    How fantastic to see Erythroniums growing in the wild like that, truly spectacular. As is the landscape around them.

  2. Frank

    Great park and even better was the place you stayed. I can’t imagine being able to roll out of bed, grab a coffee and see all that out my front door. Do I need to even say it’s amazing?
    With all the snow still lying around, I wonder what happens if a patch of plants never quite thaws out during the summer. You think they just try and hang on for the next, or does it mean death…..

  3. Sarah

    Gentian is spectacular.

    You should bring some images from your Mt Rainier trips to the RGS members’ meeting when people share their personal pics. Usually held in November… ..

    1. jw

      Good idea, I’ll try to remember. There will be a lot of others to share…:)