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Spring gentian

(Gentiana verna)

Spring gentian © Andrew Gagg / Plantlife

Spring gentian © Andrew Gagg / Plantlife

A deep blue beauty, what this wildflower lacks in size it makes up in colour.

The spring gentian is the smallest of the gentians, typically growing only a few centimetres tall. However, there are few plants that can match the brilliance of its blue petals. It was voted the County flower of County Durham.

Distribution

Although common in Central Europe, spring gentians are sadly hard to find in the UK. In fact the native population is confined to the Teesdale area in Northern England, in one of our Important Plant Areas (IPAs).

Habitat

Stony limestone pavements and grassland.

Best time to see

May and June when it flowers.

Threats

Overgrazing in upland areas is considered a continuing threat to this brilliant bloom.

Did you know?

According to folklore, if a person brought the spring gentian inside a house they risked being struck by lightening!