Rare marsh gentians (Gentiana pneumonanthe) growing on Dorset heathland.
With their bright blue trumpet-shaped flowers, marsh gentians thrive in areas of wet, acid heathland or grassland.
I had never seen these wonderful plants before and was delighted to find them growing on a Dorset heath. Intertwined with bog asphodels and heather these blue Dorset marsh gentians were hard to spot, especially as there were only a few of them – about ten or so.
Gentiana pneumonanthe are perennials that flower late in the year – from August to September, and they can grow to a height of up to 30cm.
Marsh gentians are declining
Unfortunately, this nationally rare and stunning plant is now on the decline due to a loss of habitat, changes in land management, and drainage.
One report on the web says that marsh gentians are sometimes stolen, and that wouldn’t surprise me. What thieves don’t realise is that like most other wild plants, they don’t survive when taken away from their natural habitat.
Aside from the above, not only is it illegal to steal plants from the wild but also extremely selfish. To protect these scarce and beautiful marsh gentians I have therefore chosen to keep their exact location hidden.
A beautiful, blue, marsh gentian basks in the Dorset sunshine.
All photos © Lindsey Harris.