Jul. 29, 2017

closed gentian, Gentiana andrewsii

Closed gentian is a particularly apt common name. The flowers never open more than this. They are often mistaken for buds or even fruit except by the bumblebees that pollinate them. Bumblebees seem to be the only pollinator that has the size and intelligence to get inside. The nectar is particularly rich in sugar, but so far in the bottom of the bloom that the bees rarely reach it, which befuddles both me and the bees. Why make things so difficult? Most gentians are open at the top. Closed gentians bloom among many other late summer flowers in low meadows. Studies have shown that the bees more often visit the neighbors. Is this the Greta Garbo pollination syndrome? Also called bottle gentian, they grow in CO, CT, DE, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA(T), MD(T), MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, NH(T), NJ, NY(V), OH, PA, RI(X), SD, VA, VT(T), WI, WV, MB, ON, QC, and SK. Lenawee Co MI, 9/5/10.