H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Gentiana Asclepiadea - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Gentiana Asclepiadea Described.
Gentiana Asclepiadea - Swallow-wort-leaved Gentian; Nat. Ord. Gentianaceæ.
A tall and beautiful alpine species from Austria, very hardy and herbaceous. It has long had a place in English gardens—over 300 years—and is described by Parkinson in his "Paradise of Flowers." The tall stems are very showy, having an abundance of shining dark green foliage, amongst which nestle the large and bright purple-blue flowers; it is a subject that looks well at a distance, and, as a rule, flowers with that quality are of the greatest value for borders and cutting purposes.
It grows nearly 2ft. high; the stems are round, erect, short-jointed, and very leafy; the flowers are produced on a third of their length, they are stalkless, and spring from the axils of the leaves in pairs; the calyx is ½in. long, tubular, angled, and having fang-shaped segments; the corolla is also tubular and angled, somewhat bellied, the divisions being deeply cut and reflexed; the whole flower will be fully 1½in. long. The inside of the corolla is striped with white and various shades of blue and purple. The leaves are 2in. long, oval, lance-shaped, distinctly ribbed, somewhat lobed at the base, and stem-clasping, which gives the pair of leaves a joined or perfoliate appearance; the nodes are short, or near together, the lower ones being the more distant, where also the leaves are much smaller; the foliage is a glossy dark green colour, the whole plant having a sombre but rich effect.
From the fact that the long stems are top-heavy and of a brittle character, a sheltered position should be given to this plant, or the wind will snap them off. It ought not to have stakes, as they would mar its good form. A fat loam and a moist situation will suit this Gentian to perfection, and it may be planted with other strong herbaceous things in the borders, where it should be allowed to grow to large specimens. It is one of the quickest growers of its genus, few species of which can be grown in too large quantities. When it is needful to increase this subject, it maybe done more readily than the propagation of some Gentians—the roots are more easily separated. It should, however, be carefully done, and early spring is the best time; or if the autumn should be a dry season and the tops die off early, it may be done then.
Flowering period, July and August.
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