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Alpine Flower a Day: Spencers Gentian

Alpine Flower a Day: Day. 17, Spencers Gentian (Gentianella spenceri)

– flowers less than a centimetre – not called Little Gentian (gentianella) for nothing!

– found near the edges of the bush on Granity Track, Kahurangi National Park


a found poem

I have only seen two

specimens of this curiosity ,

both of which are too far advanced

to be satisfactory ; but ,

after waiting fourteen years

in the vain hope of obtaining

better material , I venture to publish it

as a distinct

species , chiefly

on account of the petiolate


leaves and small flowers with calyx teeth

fully equalling

the corolla .

hab . South Island ;

Rev. F. H. Spencer ! (1880)

Aha! Couldn't resist this language from Papers Past "A Revision of the New Zealand Gentians" by T. Kirk. F.L.S (Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 28th November, 1894). Botanical descriptions are full of words I'm sure only botanists know. I love the intensity of scientific jargon.

If you're interested in the inspiration behind this month-long series of 'An Alpine Flower A Day' about NZ alpine flowers and poems, you can find more in my first post: An Alpine Flower A Day Enjoy!


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