early horse gentian

(Triosteum aurantiacum var. aurantiacum)

Conservation Status
early horse gentian
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Early horse gentian is a 2 to 4 tall, erect, perennial forb rising on 1 or more stems from a taproot.

The stems are 2 to 4 tall and are covered with short, glandular hairs that are more than 0.5 mm long. Mixed in with the glandular hairs are longer non-glandular hairs.

The leaves are opposite, light green, and untoothed. They are attached to the stem without a stalk but are not fused at the base. They are 4 to 12 long, 1½ to 6 wide, and broadly-elliptic. They taper gradually to a pointed tip and taper broadly to the base. They have sparse, glandular hairs on the upper surface, and dense, soft hairs on the lower surface.

The inflorescence is a tight cluster of 1 to 4 (usually 3 to 4) flowers in the upper leaf axils.

At the base of the flower are 5 linear, erect sepals. They are uniformly hairy on the back and along the margins, and sometimes also have glandular hairs.

The flowers are to long with 5 maroon, reddish-purple to brown, or yellowish-green petals. The petals are fused into a tubular or bell-shaped floral tube along most of their length. The tube is swollen on one side at the base. The lobes of the tube are unequal in length. The style is shorter than and does not protrude from the floral tube.

The fruit is berry-like, dull orange-yellow, and hairy. Each fruit contains 3 oblong stones.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

2 to 4

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Maroon, reddish-purple to brown, or yellowish-green

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Late horse gentian (Triosteum perfoliatum) stems are covered with short hairs that are less than 0.5 mm long. At least 3 of the pairs of lower and middle leaves are fused at the base, appearing to be pierced by the stem. The style is longer than and protrudes from the floral tube.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Woods, thickets.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to June

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 7, 28.

 
  8/4/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Dipsacales (honeysuckles, moschatels, and allies)  
 

Family

Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)  
  Subfamily Caprifolioideae  
 

Genus

Triosteum (horse gentian)  
  Species Triosteum aurantiacum (orange-fruited horse gentian)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

There are three varieties of early horse gentian. Only var. aurantiacum occurs in Minnesota.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Triosteum perfoliatum var. aurantiacum

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

early horse gentian

orangefruit horse-gentian

orange-fruited horse gentian

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

       
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Plant

  early horse gentian    
       

Infructescence

  early horse gentian    
       
       

 

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  Triosteum  

 

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