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Book cover - Alpine Plants of New ZealandAlpine Plants
of New Zealand


Gentianella bellidifolia
(syn. Gentiana bellidifolia)


Gentiana bellidifoliaReproduced from
Alpine Plants of New Zealand
ISBN 0 7900 0525 5
by kind permission of the author, Lawrie Metcalf and Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the author and publisher. Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Alpine Plants of New Zealand must always be given.


  • A tufted perennial herb, 10-15 cm tall, arising from a rather stout, single or branched rootstock.
  • Leaves: Each rootstock or branch has a tuft or rosette of numerous, thick to almost fleshy, overlapping leaves. Leaf blade 1-1.5 cm long by 5-7 mm wide, bright to deep green and shining above.
  • Flowers: White, 1.5-1.8 cm long, produced singly or in two- to six-flowered clusters.

Two forms are recognised:

  • Typical form.
  • var. australis: Differs mainly in its stouter habit of growth and larger flowers. It often forms dense, low patches 6-12 cm across, and the abundantly produced flowers are up to 2.5 cm in diameter.

Distribution & Habitat

  • North and South Islands in subalpine to high alpine regions from Mt Hikurangi southwards; widespread but often local. 600-1800 metres.
  • Usually occurs in damp grasslands, herbfields and boggy places.
  • var. australis is confined to high alpine regions of the South Island mainly about and west of the main divide. It occurs mainly in fellfields, on rock faces and on bluffs.


  • Identification: Of the 24 or so native species of gentian this is one of the finest as well as one of the most commonly seen. The almost fleshy leaves, with deep green and shining upper surfaces, and the prominent heads of quite large flowers are usually sufficient to identify it.
  • Flowering: Typical form — between January and March; var. australis — during February and March. Depending on the season flowering may continue into April.


Web-notes: Alpine Garden Links

On this site

Reproduced from Alpine Plants of New Zealand:

Also see the article by Raymond Mole on:
New Zealand Alpine Plants: A Challenge for Growers


NZAGSExternal Links

New Zealand Alpine Garden Society


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Last updated: March 1, 2021