Information on Field Gentian

Common Name: Field Gentian
Scientific Name: Gentianella campestris
Irish Name: Lus an chrúbáin
Family Group: Gentianaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Field Gentian could sometimes be confused with:

Gentian, Autumn,

This species could easily be confused with Autumn Gentian as they both tend to bloom around the same period – July to October. They both have similar purple- lilac flowers but if you exam the sepals closely, you will see the difference between the two species. In Field Gentian, the sepals are not all the same size; the 2 outer sepals are much broader than the 2 inner, almost hiding the 2 inner sepals. In Autumn Gentian, the 2 outer sepals are only slightly broader than the 2 inner making them look almost equal in size. Also Autumn Gentian frequently bears 5-petalled flowers whereas Field Gentian bears 4-petalled flowers, which are worth examining closely. They are erect, tubular in shape, with four lobes which spread out and, down in the throat of the flower, is a ring of white hairs. The oval-lanceolate leaves are dark green and opposite. It grows to approximately 30cm tall, is an annual or biennial, a native species and is found in short turf, on dune systems and on machair, principally in the area of Ireland which is above a line between Dublin and Galway. It belongs to the Gentian/ Gentianaceae family.

I found this species in Dunlewey and on Gola island, both in County Donegal, in September 2018 when I took the photographs.

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

Gentian, Field
Gentian, Field

Field Gentian is a priority species in Northern Ireland as it has suffered a decline over the last few decades. In the Red Data List of Vascular Species (2016), it is classified as ‘Near Threatened’, mirroring the decline over much of the UK and Continental Europe. ‘The future prospects for its main habitats are assessed as unfavourable’. The decline in grass-grazing by rabbits may also be contributing to its decline.