Autumn gentian

Autumn Gentian

©Northeast Wildlife

Autumn gentian

Scientific name: Gentianella amarella
A late-flowering plant, Autumn gentian displays pretty, mauve, tube-like flowers atop its reddish stems. It favours dry, chalk grassland and sand dune habitats.

Species information


Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status


When to see

July to October


Found on dry, chalk grasslands and sand dunes, Autumn gentian is a late-flowering biennial - the leaves grow in the first year, and the flowering stem grows in the second, its mauve blooms appearing from July to October. It can sometimes be found growing in large groups.

How to identify

Autumn gentian has mauve five- or four-petalled flowers that branch off from the main, reddish stem on short stalks. The flowers look like tubes that have been flattened at the top to make a star; they have a protruding inner ring of 'ribbons' surrounding their central parts. Narrow, pointed leaves appear in opposite pairs on the stem and have a reddish tinge.


Scattered distribution across the UK; most common in Southern England.

Did you know?

A subspecies of Autumn gentian which has white flowers (Gentianella amarella septentrionalis) is classified as near threatened under the vascular plant red data list for Great Britain.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and coastal habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways these habitats are kept in good condition. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.