Rose Gentian (Rose Pink)

Sabatia angularis


Photo of a rose gentian flower, closeup
Rose gentian flowers are about 1 inch wide, with 5 spreading corolla lobes, with a green or yellow inner ring.

Gentianaceae (gentians)


Biennial whose first year is spent as a basal rosette of leaves; it sends up a flowering stalk the second year. The many opposite branches make it look like a candelabra; stems square and winged. Each flower borne on a stalk arising from upper leaf axils, to 1 inch across, with 5 spreading corolla lobes; pink (in some localities white), with a green or yellow inner ring; delicately scented. Blooms June–September. Leaves opposite, sessile, ovate to lanceolate, lacking teeth, to 1½ inches long.

Similar species: Prairie rose gentian (S. campestris) has the branches in the flower cluster alternate, not opposite; its calyx tube is prominently 5-ribbed or winged (not smooth) and the plant grows only to about 9 inches tall. It is found in prairies, fields, and roadsides, mostly in the southern two-thirds of the state. Marsh pink (S. brachiata) is rare in our state, having been recorded only from Butler County in southeast Missouri.


Height: to 2 feet.


Photo of a blooming rose gentian plant at Tucker Prairie
Rose Gentian At Tucker Prairie
Each flower of rose gentian is borne on a stalk arising from the upper leaf axils.


Photo of rose gentian flower cluster
Rose Gentian (Rose Pink) (Flowers)


Photo of a rose gentian stalk with leaves
Rose Gentian Stalk
Rose gentian stems are square and winged. The leaves are opposite, sessile, ovate to lanceolate, and lack teeth.


Photo of blooming rose gentian plants in a fallow field
Rose Gentian (Rose Pink)
Habitat and conservation

Occurs in glades, prairies, upland ridges, fallow fields, margins and openings of woods, thickets, roadsides, and rights-of-way. Usually grows in acid soils.

image of Rose Gentian Rose Pink distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Found in southern, northeastern, and east-central counties.

Human connections

This showy native wildflower should be used more often in flower gardens. The plants reseed themselves and can have a more or less permanent presence. They prefer fairly acid soil and an open situation. Don’t dig plants from the wild; get them from reputable wildflower nurseries.

Ecosystem connections

Bees, butterflies, and skippers visit the flowers, and at least a few moth or butterfly species use it as their larval food plant.