Flowers: terminal and clustered in the axils of the leaves. Calyx: of four or five-cleft sepals. Corolla: about an inch in length; closed at the top. Stamens: four or five. Pistil: one, with two stigmas. Leaves.' opposite; lanceolate and enveloping the terminal flowers. Stem: one to two feet high; smooth; erect.
The closed gentian always appears as though it had the sulks.
Its colour and setting are lovely, and one cannot but fancy it might open its petals and be pleasant and chatty if it would. But it won't; its mood is selfish and its lobes are not fashioned in the orthodox way. Of course there is a great deal of theory in its closed corolla; it protects its delicate organs from the cold of the late season, and all other evils to which they might be exposed. Happily, we can turn to the fringed gentian, which is more considerate of our feelings. A strong suspicion is afloat that if the closed gentian did let out its petals they would not be so beautifully fringed as those of its relative, and this is the reason, perhaps, that it is so sulky.