Stem. - One to two feet high, upright, smooth. Leaves. - Opposite, narrowly oval or lance-shaped. Flowers. - Blue to purple, clustered at the summit of the stem and often in the axils of the leaves. Calyx. - Four or five-cleft. Corolla. - Closed at the mouth, large, oblong. Stamens. - Four or five. Pistil. - One, with two stigmas.
Plate C. Closed Gentian. - G. Andrewsii
Few flowers adapt themselves better to the season than the closed gentian. We look for it in September when the early waning days and frost-suggestive nights prove so discouraging to the greater part of the floral world. Then in somewhat moist, shaded places along the roadside we find this vigorous, autumnal-looking plant, with stout stems, leaves that bronze as the days advance, and deep-tinted flowers firmly closed as though to protect the delicate reproductive organs within from the sharp touches of the late year.
To me the closed gentian usually shows a deep blue or even purple countenance, although like the fringed gentian and so many other flowers its color is lighter in the shade than in the sunlight. But Thoreau claims for it a " transcendent blue," " a splendid blue, light in the shade, turning to purple with age." "Bluer than the bluest sky, they lurk in the moist and shady recesses of the banks," he writes. Mr. Burroughs also finds it "intensely blue."