Star gentian, felwort, alpine bog gentian
Scattered areas of the Rocky Mountain states and states to the west
Meadows, bogs, moist hillsides, at high elevations (montane to alpine)
Spatulate, up to 8 inches long, on stalks (basal). Stem leaves are lanceolate
July to September
Swertia perennis is one of the prettier mountain wildflowers, producing compact, elongated clusters of purple-petaled flowers which contrast with the rich green foliage. The five petals, or corolla lobes, are mostly separate, joined only at the base, and have a complex pattern of darker veins and spots. Underneath are five slender, pointed, green sepals, just a little shorter. The flower center contains a short, thick style, five thick purple stamens topped by split anthers, and ten glands fringed with a few short white hairs. Flowers are slightly less than one inch in diameter. The main stem, and the flower stems, are also unusually thick. Most leaves grow at the base; the stems have only a few (opposite) pairs, well separated. The plant is widespread but not abundant, growing in bogs and other wet places in mountainous regions.