Slender Marsh Pink (S. Gracilis) is very similar to stellaris, but the stem is very slender and the leaves are linear. The flowers are about the same size, with the petals averaging a trifle more narrow. The linear sepals are fully as long as the petals, with which they alternate. This species is found along the coast from Conn, to Fla.
Lance-Leaved Sabbatia (S. Lanceolata) is a narrow-leaved variety found in pine barrens from N. J. to Fla. The flowers terminating the slender branches are white, star-like and about one inch across.
Fringed Gentian, Gentiana crinita.
Fringed Gentian (Gentiana Crinita) , because of its exquisite beauty and comparative rarity, is one of the most highly prized of our wild flowers. Surely it needs no introduction to our readers for has not Bryant immortalized it in his verse:
"Thou waitest late, and com'st alone When re and birds have flown, And frosts and shortening days portend The aged year is near his end."
"Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye Look through its fringes to the sky, Blue - blue - as if that sky let fall A flower from its cerulean wawoods are ball."
The Fringed Gentian is rather a fickle plant; we may find it in a certain locality one year and then search in vain for it for the next few years. It is an annual and, unless the seed is properly set and conditions favorable, we will fail to find it next year even though it be abundant in certain places this. The stem is stout, stiff and branching, each branch being erect and terminating in a bud. The yellow-green leaves are ovate-lanceolate, seated oppositely on the stem.
The calyx is angular, has four sharp points and is a bronze-green in color. During September and October we may find these blossoms fully expanded, delicate, vase-shaped creations with four spreading deeply-fringed lobes bearing no resemblence in shape or form to any other American species. The color is a violet-blue, the color that is most attractive to bumblebees, and it is to these insects that the flower is indebted for the setting of its seed. The anthers mature before the stigma is developed so that self-fertilization is impossible. The flowers are wide open only during sunshine, furling in their peculiar twisted manner on cloudy days and at night. In moist woods from Me. to Minn, and southwards.
A. Downy Gentian.
B. Solitary Gentian.
Downy Gentian (Gentiana Puberula) is a handsome species springing from a perennial root, the simple, straight stem, rising from 8 to 18 inches high; the stem is usually rough and slightly hairy. The light green leaves are stiff and seated oppositely on the stem. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters or, sometimes, from the axils of the upper leaves; they are bell-shaped with five triangular, slightly spreading lobes. In color they are brilliant violet blue. The sharply toothed calyx is less tnan half the length of the tube of the corolla; it is quite rough to the touch.
Downy Gentian is common in dry fields and on prairies from Pa. to Ga. and west to Minn, and Mo., flowering during September and October.