The Marsh Gentian is a rare plant of acidic bogs and wet heathlands whose bright blue, trumpet-shaped flowers appear from July to October, contrasting with the pinks and purples of the heath. There are particularly strong populations of this flower in the New Forest, where a white variety has also occurred.
How to identify
The upright, unbranched stems of Marsh Gentian hold aloft the blue, trumpet-shaped flowers that are delicately striped with green. Narrow leaves are carried up the stem in pairs.
Where to find it
Quite rare, it tends to grow in three different areas of England.
When to find it
How can people help
Windswept heaths and boggy moors are an iconic feature of the UK's landscape and are the result of hundreds of years of low-impact human activities such as livestock-grazing and scrub clearance. Yet development and the decline of traditional farming methods have caused many of these precious habitats to be lost - over 80% of lowland heathland in the UK has disappeared in just 200 years. The Wildlife Trusts manage many heathland habitats for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife including Marsh Gentian. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.