Fringed Gentian: This rare blossom has been described as America’s loveliest wildflower, and was for a time nominated for the classification of national flower. Its celestial beauty inspired poetic praise from such greats as Bryant, Dickinson, and Thoreau, as well as being a popular motif and symbol in artistic works. The Gentiana genus was named after King Gentius, an ancient ruler of the kingdom of Illyria who, according to legend, discovered the many medicinal benefits of this family of plants. The species name “crinita” comes from the Latin word for “hairy,” referring to the finely fringed petals of the blossom.
Fringed Gentian Germination: To break this seed’s dormancy, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60-90 days before planting. Scatter the seed on the surface of the soil, then press it in lightly. Keep the soil moist, but water carefully to avoid disturbing the seed; keep the soil temperature at about 70 degrees F. Germination is notoriously slow and irregular, but should begin to occur within 4 weeks. Transplant two seedlings each in individual pots, handling very carefully to prevent breaking the hair-like roots.