This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This beautiful flower is found on the hillier parts throughout the North Temperate Zone in Europe (but not in Turkey) and W. Siberia. It is unknown so far in early deposits. In Great Britain it does not grow in N. Devon or S. Somerset in the Peninsula province, but in Wilts, Dorset, the Isle of Wight, in the Channel province; in Herts, Berks, Oxford, in the Thames province; W. Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedford, Northants, in Anglia; Monmouth, Hereford, Stafford, Salop, in the Severn province; in South Wales in Glamorgan and Carmarthen, Pembroke, and throughout N.Wales; throughout the Trent province, Mersey province, except Mid Lancs, and in the Humber,Tyne, Lakes, W. Lowlands; in the E. Lowlands province generally, except Selkirk, Linlithgow; in the E. Highlands, except Stirling; W. Highlands; N. Highlands, except W. Ross; and in the Highlands.
The Field Gentian is found in similar habitats to that of the Autumnal Gentian, preferring a less dry station as a rule, but associated with other hillside plants, e.g. Yellow Balsam, Dyer's Weed, etc.
This beautiful little flower has a short, erect stem, which is branched above with inversely egg-shaped, spoon-shaped radical leaves, stem-leaves oblong, lance-shaped, with 3-7 nerves, stalkless, and entire.
Photo. Flatters & Garnett - Field Gentian (Gentiana Campestris, L.)
The flowers are deep-purple or lilac or white, numerous, with a salver-shaped corolla, which is 4-cleft, and fringed with hairs in the mouth, thicker upwards. The calyx is 4-cleft, the sepals acute, two large or wider, and two small, overlapped by the larger ones. The capsule is nearly stalkless.
The stem is 3-6 in. high. Field Gentian flowers in the autumn in August and September. Being annual it is propagated by seeds. It is worth cultivating in gardens. In alpine regions it is biennial.
The Field Gentian is adapted for pollination by long-lipped insects, such as humble bees, and the flower is similar in general structure to G. Amarella.1 It is sometimes homogamous, anthers and stigma maturing together; sometimes proterandrous, anthers ripening first. In wet weather the plant may also be cleistogamous.
The capsule splits open by septa when ripe, containing numerous seeds, which are liberated and fall out around the parent plant.
As with G. Amarella, this Gentian is a humus-loving plant and requires a humus soil.
A cluster-cup fungus, Puccinia gentianae, attacks the leaves, as in the case of the Autumn Gentian.
The second Latin name refers to its habitat, dry pastures.
The only names by which Field Gentian is known are Baldmoney and Bitterwort. The bitter root is used on account of its astringent properties.
Essential Specific Characters:211. Gentiana campestris, L. - Stem erect, branched, leaves ovate lanceolate, flowers lilac, calyx 4-cleft, 2 outer lobes larger.