There can be few more striking, instantly recognisable plants than the beautiful spring gentian or the perennial centaury. However, other British and Irish members of the gentian family may be more difficult to identify for a variety of reasons, including recent origins of closely related taxa, hybridisation, local genetic differentiation and environmental plasticity. Some species are very rare and protected, others are common and widespread.
The aim of this new BSBI Handbook is to provide guidance on gentian identification and summarise what is currently known about them. The initial idea came out of work on conservation of the endemic early gentian Gentianella amarella subsp. anglica in the 1990s and the research has taken over 25 years to complete.
The handbook includes an introduction, identification guidance and keys, accounts of the 18 species and 4 hybrids in Blackstonia, Cicendia, Exaculum, Centarium, Gentianella and Gentiana, references, glossary and indices with distribution maps, line drawings and colour photographs. 2 appendices descibe with keys, infraspecific taxa of C. littorale and C. erythraea.