The genus Gentiana extends across the temperate regions of Asia, Europe and North and South America, largely in mountainous areas. The Willow Gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea L.) extends from the mountainous areas of Spain through the Balkan States to the Ukraine in their more temperate regions. The plant characteristics are described, including roots, seed germination, the blue-violet flowers and their altitudinal variability, together with uses of the plant in traditional medicine. The dried roots and rhizomes are used as remedies for poor appetite and digestive problems. The Willow Gentian is also popular as an ornamental due to its late flowering time, when few other plants are in the generative phase. The popularity of this plant has led to instances of overharvesting and it is now strictly protected in Poland. The authors recommend special attention to this species in the field and close management of existing stands and surrounding areas. Further development of in vitro techniques will provide an excellent tool to support in situ plant protection.

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