E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Gentiana sceptrum Griseb.
king gentian (king's scepter gentian)
Gentianaceae (Gentian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Paul Dawson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #89161)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Gentiana sceptrum
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from a thick, fleshy root; stems 1-many, ascending to erect, 0.2-1.2 m tall.
Basal leaves few, essentially reduced to short bracts; stem leaves opposite, oblong-lanceolate, 3-6 cm long, 7-15 mm wide, 10-15 pairs, the lowest reduced to short bracts joined at the base for most of their length, upper leaves becoming gradually larger.
Inflorescence of several stalked or unstalked flowers; corollas blue mottled with streaks of green, tubular to funnel-shaped, 3-4.5 cm long, 5-lobed, the lobes oblong to kidney-shaped, nerved, the plaits of the sinuses squared off or round, entire; calyx tubes 8-14 mm long, the lobes shorter than the tubes and narrowly lanceolate; stamens slightly shorter than the corolla tubes; anthers 3-4 mm long.
Capsules, elliptic-oblong; seeds spindle-shaped, wingless, finely net-veined, light brown, 1.5-2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist meadows, bogs and lake margins in the lowland and montane zones; common on Vancouver Island and adjacent coast, rare northward; S to N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Gentiana sceptrum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 353 1700
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 25
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
8 307 295
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(7), CMA(1), CWH(57), MH(2)

Ecological Indicator Information

Very shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Pacific North American forb; occurrence decreases with increasing continentality. Species occurs in hypermaritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on wet to very wet, nitrogen-medium soils. Occasional in semi-terrestrial communities (less frequently in open-canopy forests) on water-collecting sites with surface groundwater table and accumulations of peat. Characteristic of wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Gentiana menziesii Griseb.
Gentiana sceptrum var. cascadensis M.E. Peck
Gentiana sceptrum var. humilis Engelm. ex Gray

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References