Information on Autumn Gentian

Common Name: Autumn Gentian
Scientific Name: Gentianella amarella subsp. hibernica
Irish Name: Muilcheann
Family Group: Gentianaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Autumn Gentian is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


An extremely beautiful native plant, Autumn Gentian grows to about 25cm high. Mainly found on calcareous soil, by sand dunes, grassy meadows and in dry banks, it is occasionally found in the centre of Ireland and parts of the West. It bears mauve, purple or pink flowers (12-14mm across), usually 5-lobed (occasionally 4-lobed). Around the centre of the flower is a fringe of short, erect hairs. The calyx lobes are narrowly lanceolate and all are roughly equal in size – which differentiates it from Field Gentian which has quite unequal calyx lobes. The flowers are borne in branched clusters on thin, erect stems. The leaves are opposite, oval-lanceolate, untoothed with basal leaves in a rosette in the first year. An annual or biennial, it flowers from June to September and belongs to the Gentianaceae or Gentian family. 

I first found this wildflower in Donegal in the late 1970’s and didn’t see it again until August 2013, when I was so excited and delighted to find it once more, this time near Bishop’s Quarter in the Burren, Co Clare when I photographed it. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Gentian, Autumn
Gentian, Autumn

This subspecies is classed as NEAR THREATENED in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016

This is a subspecies for which Ireland holds or possibly holds more than 25% of the European population (Ireland Red List No. 10 Vascular Plants) and, indeed, it is considered that its entire native distribution is confined to Ireland.

Autumn Gentian is also known as Felwort.