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

Gentiana prostrata Haenke
moss gentian (pygmy gentian)
Gentianaceae (Gentian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16032)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Gentiana prostrata
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.

Annual or biennial herb from a slender taproot; stems prostrate or ascending, few to many branched from the base, glabrous, 2-15 cm tall/long.
Basal leaves closely crowded, overlapping, spoon-shaped, forming a rosette; stem leaves opposite, 3-8 pairs, long-sheathing and overlapping at the base, egg-shaped to oblong, glaucous with broad whitish margins, 2-7 mm long, 1-5 mm wide.
Inflorescence of solitary, stalked flowers; corollas blue or whitish, usually narrowly funnel-shaped, 8-22 mm long, lobes 5, sometimes 4, the plaits between the lobes broadly triangular, 1/2 as long as the lobes; calyces 4- to 5-toothed, 8-16 mm long but shorter than the corolla tubes; stamens shorter than the corolla tubes; anthers 0.5 mm long.
Capsules, narrowly ellipsoid on a long stalk; seeds curved, glabrous, wingless or narrowly winged on one side, brown, 1 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and seepage sites in the upper subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent in N and E BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to SW AB and S to UT, CO and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Gentiana prostrata

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) 7 1745 2682
Slope Gradient (%) 0 28 103
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
5 182 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 6
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: AT(14), BAFA(51), BWBS(7), ESSF(16), IMA(6), MH(1), MS(2), SBPS(1), SWB(12)


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Chondrophylla nutans (Bunge) W.A. Weber
Chondrophylla prostrata (Haenke) J.P. Anders.
Ciminalis prostrata (Haenke) A. L÷ve & D. L÷ve
Gentiana nutans Bunge
Gentiana prostrata var. americana Engelm.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References