Cordillera de Merida páramo
The Cordillera de Merida páramo is an ecoregion containing páramo vegetation above the treeline in the Andes mountain range of Venezuela. The isolated habitat has many endemic species, it is stable and intact. The Cordillera de Merida páramo is to the south of the Lake Maracaibo in the Cordillera de Mérida massif of northeastern Venezuela, it has an area of 284,898 hectares. It is surrounded by the Venezuelan Andes montane forests ecoregion. Páramos in the southwest of the Cordillera de Merida include Batalló at 3,913 metres above sea level and Nariño at 3,517 metres; the highest point in the central section is the Piedras Blancas peak at 4,729 metres, surrounded by extensive páramos and lakes. From the Piedras Blancas páramo the land descends to the Mucuchíes páramo at 4,077 metres continues to descend towards the northeast; the Köppen climate classification is "ETH": Alpine tundra, with no month with an average temperature in excess of 10 °C. Where the Northern Andean páramo is humid throughout the year with moisture delivered in the form of rain and fog as air masses are lifted up over the mountains, the Cordillera de Merida páramo is similar to the Costa Rican páramo and Santa Marta páramo, where the trade winds create a distinct dry season.
The dominant winds blow northwest from the Amazon region, with a rainy season from around March to November. The Cordillera de Merida páramo ecoregion is in the neotropical realm, in the montane grasslands and shrublands biome; the ecoregion is part of the Northern Andean Paramo global ecoregion, which includes the Cordillera Central páramo, Santa Marta páramo and Northern Andean páramo terrestrial ecoregions. The plants and animals are adapted to the dry conditions of the high peaks. There is a high level of local endemism on the more isolated peaks; the Andes began to rise in the Miocene epoch, but in the north did not reach their present height until the Pliocene during a period of strong volcanic activity between four and five million years ago. This was the period when land rose above the tree line and the protopáramo vegetation was formed with new species of the Poaceae, Arteraceae and other families. During the parts of the Quaternary epoch a series of short and dry glacial periods alternated with warmer and more humid interglacial periods.
The páramo belts moved lower and joined together in the cold periods, moved higher into unconnected enclaves when the temperatures rose. The result is a mix of species of tropical and boreal origin with the same genera found in most páramos, but with many endemic species in the individual páramos; the Cordillera de Mérida is the oldest part of the northern Andes, has a large connected corridor of páramo. The range is where most of the páramo flora of tropical origin developed migrated south into Colombia during cold glacial periods; the mountain forest extends up to about 3,000 metres in altitude, where the páramos begin, Above 4,000 metres the páramos are replaced by a periglacial zone with little vegetation lichens and some dwarf plants. No flora or fauna are found above around 4,850 metres; the ecoregion consists of dry páramo habitat, with high-altitude tussock grass, stands of dwarf bamboo and open meadows There are some marshes and bogs, although less than in the wet páramo. Redonda chiquinquirana, a butterfly whose females have limited ability to fly, is endemic to the ecoregion.
A study of Carabid beetles found diverse and numerous specimens, all endemic to the ecoregion although related to species in other ranges. Carbonellia ater is found between 4,300 metres; the most important Carabid tribes in terms of numbers of species and of individuals belong to the genera Dyscolus and Bembidion. Endangered amphibians include Tamá harlequin frog. Endangered mammals include Musso's fish-eating rat; the World Wildlife Fund gives the ecoregion the status "Relatively Stable/Intact". Protected areas include the Guaramacal National Park; the Sierra La Culata National Park and Sierra Nevada National Park protect the Ruta de los Páramos, a tourist route through the central páramos
Mollisols are a soil order in USDA soil taxonomy. Mollisols form in semi-arid to semi-humid areas under a grassland cover, they are most found in the mid-latitudes, namely in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, in South America in Argentina and Brazil, in Asia in Mongolia and the Russian Steppes. Their parent material is base-rich and calcareous and include limestone, loess, or wind-blown sand; the main processes that lead to the formation of grassland Mollisols are melanisation, decomposition and pedoturbation. Mollisols have deep, high organic matter, nutrient-enriched surface soil between 60 and 80 cm in depth; this fertile surface horizon, known as a mollic epipedon, is the defining diagnostic feature of Mollisols. Mollic epipedons result from the long-term addition of organic materials derived from plant roots, have soft, soil structure. Mollisols occur in savannahs and mountain valleys; these environments have been influenced by fire and abundant pedoturbation from organisms such as ants and earthworms.
It was estimated that in 2003, only 14 to 26 percent of grassland ecosystems still remained in a natural state. Globally, they represent ~7% of ice-free land area; as the world's most agriculturally productive soil order, the Mollisols represent one of the more economically important soil orders. Though most of the other soil orders known today existed by the time of the Carboniferous Ice Age 280 million years ago, Mollisols are not known from the paleopedological record any earlier than the Eocene, their development is closely associated with the cooling and drying of the global climate that occurred during the Oligocene and Pliocene. Albolls — wet soils; such soils are known as Molliturbels or Mollorthels and provide the best grazing land in such cold climates because they are not acidic like many other soils of cold climates. Other soils which have a mollic epipedon are classified as Vertisols because the presence of high shrink swell characteristics and high clay contents takes precedence over the mollic epipedon.
These are common in parts of South America in the Paraná River basin that have abundant but erratic rainfall and extensive deposition of clay-rich minerals from the Andes. Mollic epipedons occur in some Andisols but the andic properties take precedence. In the World Reference Base for Soil Resources, Mollisols are split up into Chernozems and Phaeozems. Shallow or gravelly Mollisols may belong to the Leptosols. Many Aquolls are Stagnosols or Planosols. Mollisols with a natric horizon belong to the Solonetz. Pedogenesis Pedology Soil classification Soil science Soil type "Mollisols". USDA-NRCS. Archived from the original on 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2006-05-14. "Mollisols". University of Florida. Archived from the original on April 4, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-14. "Mollisols". University of Idaho. Retrieved 2006-05-14. Brady, N. C. and Weil, R. R.. ‘The Nature and Properties of Soils.’ 11th edition.. Buol, S. W. Southard, R. J. Graham, R. C. and McDaniel, P. A.. ‘Soil Genesis and Classification.’ 5th edition
Santa Marta páramo
The Santa Marta páramo is an ecoregion containing páramo vegetation above the treeline in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The isolated position of the range has allowed unique species to evolve; some are related to those found in Central America and the Caribbean coastal areas, some to species from the Andes. The habitat is stable, but has been drastically changed from the original by long-term human activity; the Santa Marta páramo has an area of 129,499 hectares. It covers the upper levels of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the north of Colombia; this is a triangular massif with its north side parallel to the Caribbean sea, the southwest side facing the swamps of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta and the southeast side facing the Serranía del Perijá mountains across the Cesar and Ranchería river valleys. The ecoregion is surrounded by the Santa Marta montane forests ecoregion, which in turn is surrounded by the Sinú Valley dry forests and Guajira-Baranquilla xeric scrub ecoregions.
The Santa Marta páramo is the most northern section of páramo in South America. The isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has an elevation of 5,775 metres; the páramo is found between the treeline around 3,300 metres and the snowline around 5,000 metres, with some variations due to differences in slope and exposure to the wind and sun. The area is all granodiorite from the Jurassic period; the Köppen climate classification is "Cwb": winter dry, warm summer. Where the Northern Andean páramo is humid throughout the year with moisture delivered in the form of rain and fog as air masses are lifted up over the mountains, the Santa Marta páramo is similar to the Costa Rican páramo and Cordillera de Merida páramo, where the northeast trade winds create a distinct dry season. Moist air currents produce mist and rain. Most rain falls in September. At a sample location at coordinates 10.75°N 73.75°W / 10.75. Yearly average temperature was about 13 °C, with average minimum of 8 °C and maximum of 18.5 °C.
Average total rainfall was about 1,800 millimetres. Mean monthly rainfall varied from 33.3 millimetres in January to 245.2 millimetres in May, falling back to 115.2 millimetres in July and rising again to 304.5 millimetres in October. The Santa Marta páramo ecoregion is in the neotropical realm, in the montane grasslands and shrublands biome; the ecoregion is part of the Northern Andean Paramo global ecoregion, which includes the Cordillera Central páramo, Cordillera de Merida páramo and Northern Andean páramo terrestrial ecoregions. The plants and animals are adapted to the dry conditions of the high peaks. There is a high level of local endemism on the more isolated peaks; the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has been designated a Biosphere Reserve due to the endemic plants and animals at the higher levels. The Andes began to rise in the Miocene epoch, but in the north did not reach their present height until the Pliocene during a period of strong volcanic activity between four and five million years ago.
This was the period when land rose above the tree line and the protopáramo vegetation was formed with new species of the Poaceae, Asteraceae and other families. During the parts of the Quaternary epoch there were alternating glacial and interglacial periods, with short and dry periods alternating with warmer and more humid periods; the páramo belts moved lower and joined together in the cold periods, moved higher into unconnected enclaves when the temperatures rose. The result is a mix of species of tropical and boreal origin with genera that are found in most páramos, but many endemic species in the individual páramos; the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta páramo has a unique composition of flora and fauna. The isolation has given time for endemic species to evolve including the Castenedia and Raouliopsis genera; the species evolved from warm tropical species adapted to moist conditions and from Andean species that migrated along the eastern cordillera of Colombia. The flora is closer to the flora of the Cordillera de Merida páramo and the Cordillera de la Costa montane forests than to the Northern Andean páramo.
It is descended from flora growing on land, lifted to intermediate elevations in the early and middle Cenozoic, that differentiated when the land was lifted to high elevations during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. A 2013 analysis of the páramo units in Colombia evaluated similarities between their endemic flora, it found that the units formed into five biogeographical provinces: The definition of the Páramos del Norte province differs from the traditional grouping, where the Santa Marta páramo is treated as a separate ecoregion and the Perijá páramo is included in the Cordillera Oriental province. The flora of these two is closer to the Páramos de Chirripó of Central America than to the rest of the Northern Andean páramo, despite their being separated by the Cesar River valley; the páramo contains high altitude tussock grassland, thicket and marshes. Vegetation on the northern side receives more rain and is rougher than the vegetation on the southern side, protected from the trade winds. 125 species of angiosperms have been recorded that are endemic to the Sierra Nevada, of which 61 are found only in the páramo.
135 genera of vascular plants have been recorded. Raouliopsis and Obtegomeria are endemic. Pentacalia has 8 of its 11 endemic species that grow only in the páram
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Different characteristics tend to exist within any given population as a result of mutation, genetic recombination and other sources of genetic variation. Evolution occurs when evolutionary processes such as natural selection and genetic drift act on this variation, resulting in certain characteristics becoming more common or rare within a population, it is this process of evolution that has given rise to biodiversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms and molecules. The scientific theory of evolution by natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the mid-19th century and was set out in detail in Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. Evolution by natural selection was first demonstrated by the observation that more offspring are produced than can survive.
This is followed by three observable facts about living organisms: 1) traits vary among individuals with respect to their morphology and behaviour, 2) different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction and 3) traits can be passed from generation to generation. Thus, in successive generations members of a population are more to be replaced by the progenies of parents with favourable characteristics that have enabled them to survive and reproduce in their respective environments. In the early 20th century, other competing ideas of evolution such as mutationism and orthogenesis were refuted as the modern synthesis reconciled Darwinian evolution with classical genetics, which established adaptive evolution as being caused by natural selection acting on Mendelian genetic variation. All life on Earth shares a last universal common ancestor that lived 3.5–3.8 billion years ago. The fossil record includes a progression from early biogenic graphite, to microbial mat fossils, to fossilised multicellular organisms.
Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped by repeated formations of new species, changes within species and loss of species throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. Morphological and biochemical traits are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, can be used to reconstruct phylogenetic trees. Evolutionary biologists have continued to study various aspects of evolution by forming and testing hypotheses as well as constructing theories based on evidence from the field or laboratory and on data generated by the methods of mathematical and theoretical biology, their discoveries have influenced not just the development of biology but numerous other scientific and industrial fields, including agriculture and computer science. The proposal that one type of organism could descend from another type goes back to some of the first pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, such as Anaximander and Empedocles; such proposals survived into Roman times. The poet and philosopher Lucretius followed Empedocles in his masterwork De rerum natura.
In contrast to these materialistic views, Aristotelianism considered all natural things as actualisations of fixed natural possibilities, known as forms. This was part of a medieval teleological understanding of nature in which all things have an intended role to play in a divine cosmic order. Variations of this idea became the standard understanding of the Middle Ages and were integrated into Christian learning, but Aristotle did not demand that real types of organisms always correspond one-for-one with exact metaphysical forms and gave examples of how new types of living things could come to be. In the 17th century, the new method of modern science rejected the Aristotelian approach, it sought explanations of natural phenomena in terms of physical laws that were the same for all visible things and that did not require the existence of any fixed natural categories or divine cosmic order. However, this new approach was slow to take root in the biological sciences, the last bastion of the concept of fixed natural types.
John Ray applied one of the more general terms for fixed natural types, "species," to plant and animal types, but he identified each type of living thing as a species and proposed that each species could be defined by the features that perpetuated themselves generation after generation. The biological classification introduced by Carl Linnaeus in 1735 explicitly recognised the hierarchical nature of species relationships, but still viewed species as fixed according to a divine plan. Other naturalists of this time speculated on the evolutionary change of species over time according to natural laws. In 1751, Pierre Louis Maupertuis wrote of natural modifications occurring during reproduction and accumulating over many generations to produce new species. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon suggested that species could degenerate into different organisms, Erasmus Darwin proposed that all warm-blooded animals could have descended from a single microorganism; the first full-fledged evolutionary scheme was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's "transmutation" theory of 1809, which envisaged spontaneous generation continually producing simple forms of life that developed greater complexity in parallel lineages with an inherent progressive tendency, postulated that on a local level, these lineages adapted to the environment by inheriting changes caused by their use or disuse in parents.
These ideas were cond
Venezuela the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas, it has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, 99,889 km2 of continental shelf; this marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species.
There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia, it gained full independence as a country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to several political crises, including the deadly Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993.
A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former coup-involved career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution. The revolution began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written; this new constitution changed the name of the country to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The sovereign state is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District, federal dependencies. Venezuela claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River, a 159,500-square-kilometre tract dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America. Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, today, Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil; the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil came to dominate exports and government revenues.
The 1980s oil glut led to a long-running economic crisis. Inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 as per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak; the recovery of oil prices in the early 2000s gave. The Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez established populist social welfare policies that boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, temporarily reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime. However, such populist policies became inadequate, causing the nation's collapse as their excesses—including a uniquely extreme fossil fuel subsidy—are blamed for destabilizing the nation's economy; the destabilized economy led to a crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, resulting in hyperinflation, an economic depression, shortages of basic goods and drastic increases in unemployment, disease, child mortality and crime. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan Migrant Crisis where more than three million people have fled the country.
By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme hyperinflation, with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year. Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, UNASUR, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI. According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast; the stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, Italy, so he named the region Veneziola, or "Little Venice". The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela. Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word; the official name was Estado de Venezuela, República de Venezuela, Estados Unidos de Venezuela, a
Alpine tundra is a type of natural region or biome that does not contain trees because it is at high elevation. As the latitude of a location approaches the poles, the threshold elevation for alpine tundra gets lower until it reaches sea level, alpine tundra merges with polar tundra; the high elevation causes an adverse climate, too cold and windy to support tree growth. Alpine tundra transitions to sub-alpine forests below the tree line. With increasing elevation it ends at the snow line where ice persist through summer. Alpine tundra occurs in mountains worldwide; the flora of the alpine tundra is characterized by dwarf shrubs close to the ground. The cold climate of the alpine tundra is caused by adiabatic cooling of air, is similar to polar climate. Alpine tundra occurs at high enough altitude at any latitude. Portions of montane grasslands and shrublands ecoregions worldwide include alpine tundra. Large regions of alpine tundra occur in the North American Cordillera, the Alps and Pyrenees of Europe, the Himalaya and Karakoram of Asia, the Andes of South America, the Eastern Rift mountains of Africa.
Alpine tundra occupies high-mountain summits and ridges above timberline. Aspect plays a role as well; because the alpine zone is present only on mountains, much of the landscape is rugged and broken, with rocky, snowcapped peaks and talus slopes, but contains areas of rolling to flat topography. Averaging over many locations and local microclimates, the treeline rises 75 metres when moving 1 degree south from 70 to 50°N, 130 metres per degree from 50 to 30°N. Between 30°N and 20°S, the treeline is constant, between 3,500 and 4,000 metres. Alpine climate is the average weather for the alpine tundra; the climate becomes colder at high elevations—this characteristic is described by the lapse rate of air: air tends to get colder as it rises, since it expands. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is 10 °C per km of altitude. Therefore, moving up 100 metres on a mountain is equivalent to moving 80 kilometers towards the pole; this relationship is only approximate, since local factors such as proximity to oceans can drastically modify the climate.
Typical high-elevation growing seasons range from 45 to 90 days, with average summer temperatures near 10 °C. Growing season temperatures fall below freezing, frost occurs throughout the growing season in many areas. Precipitation occurs as winter snow, but soil water availability is variable with season and topography. For example, snowfields accumulate on the lee sides of ridges while ridgelines may remain nearly snow free due to redistribution by wind; some alpine habitats may be up to 70% snow free in winter. High winds are common in alpine ecosystems, can cause significant soil erosion and be physically and physiologically detrimental to plants. Wind coupled with high solar radiation can promote high rates of evaporation and transpiration. There have been several attempts at quantifying. Climatologist Wladimir Köppen demonstrated a relationship between the Arctic and Antarctic tree lines and the 10 °C summer isotherm. See Köppen climate classification for more information. Otto Nordenskiöld theorized that winter conditions play a role: His formula is W = 9 − 0.1 C, where W is the average temperature in the warmest month and C the average of the coldest month, both in degrees Celsius.
In 1947, Holdridge improved on these schemes, by defining biotemperature: the mean annual temperature, where all temperatures below 0 °C are treated as 0 °C. If the mean biotemperature is between 1.5 and 3 °C, Holdridge quantifies the climate as alpine. Because the habitat of alpine vegetation is subject to intense radiation, cold and ice, it grows close to the ground and consists of perennial grasses and forbs. Perennial herbs dominate the alpine landscape; the roots and rhizomes not only function in water and nutrient absorption but play a important role in over-winter carbohydrate storage. Annual plants are rare in this ecosystem and are only a few inches tall, with weak root systems. Other common plant life-forms include prostrate shrubs, graminoids forming tussocks, cushion plants, cryptogams, such as bryophytes and lichens. Relative to lower elevation areas in the same region, alpine regions have a high rate of endemism and a high diversity of plant species; this taxonomic diversity can be attributed to geographical isolation, climate changes, microhabitat differentiation, different histories of migration or evolution or both.
These phenomena contribute to plant diversity by introducing new flora and favoring adaptations, both of new species and the dispersal of pre-existing species. Plants have adapted to the harsh alpine environment. Cushion plants, looking like ground-hugging clumps of moss, escape the strong winds blowing a few inches a
Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the gentian family, the tribe Gentianeae, the monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae. With about 400 species it is considered a large genus, they are notable for their large, trumpet-shaped flowers, which are of an intense blue. The genus name is a tribute to Gentius, an Illyrian king who may have been the discoverer of tonic properties in gentians; this is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats in temperate regions of Asia and the Americas. Some species occur in northwestern Africa, eastern Australia, New Zealand, they are annual and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not. Many gentians are difficult to grow outside their wild habitat, but several species are available in cultivation. Gentians are hardy and can grow in full sun or partial shade, they grow in well-drained, neutral to acid soils rich in humus. They are popular in rock gardens. Many beverages are made with gentian root. Gentiana lutea is used to produce a distilled beverage produced in the Alps.
Some species are harvested for the manufacture of apéritifs and tonics. Gentian root is a common beverage flavouring for bitters; the soft drink Moxie contains gentian root. The French liqueur Suze is made with gentian. Americano apéritifs contain gentian root for bitter flavoring, it is an ingredient in the Italian liqueur Aperol. It is used as the main flavor in the German after-dinner digestif called Underberg, the main ingredient in Angostura bitters and Peychaud's Bitters; the bitter principle of gentian root is gentiopicrin, a glycoside. A 2007 paper by a Japanese group identified 23 compounds in fresh gentian root: Gentiopicrin was absent from fresh root: it develops during drying and storage of the root. Gentian is used in herbal medicine for digestive problems, hypertension, muscle spasms, parasitic worms, cancer and malaria, although studies have shown minimal efficacy beyond that of a placebo with regard to the treatment of anxiety and ADHD in children, it has been studied and proven in managing dyspepsia.
Gentiana punctata leaves and roots have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally and externally as liqueur or tea for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, locomotor system and bile, for pediatric problems, flu and gout. The gentian flower was used as the emblem of the Minamoto clan, one of the four great clans that dominated Japanese politics during the Heian period and went on to establish the first Shogunate in the aftermath of the Genpei War. Gentians have oppositely arranged leaves, sometimes in a basal rosette; the trumpet-shaped flowers are deep blue or azure, but can be white, yellow, or red. Many species are polymorphic with respect to flower color, bearing flowers of different colors. Blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes, where bird pollination is more favored by natural selection. White-flowered species dominate in New Zealand. Most flowers are pentamerous, with 5 lobes in 5 sepals. A few species have 4 to 7 flower parts.
The corolla has folds called plicae between the lobes. The style is absent; the ovary is sessile and has nectary glands. Gentianopsis crinita, as Gentiana crinita Several gentian species may be found in cultivation, are valued for the unusual intensity of their blue flowers, they have a reputation for being difficult to grow. All require similar conditions – moist, free-draining soil with an acid to neutral pH, they include: In addition, the following cultivars, of mixed or uncertain parentage, have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit:'Blue Silk"Shot Silk"Strathmore' Struwe L, Albert VA, eds.. Gentianaceae. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80999-3. "Gentian Research Network". "Gentian". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920. "Gentian". New International Encyclopedia. 1906