A lovely and increasingly-rare plant which grows up to 25cm high and does not grow in marshes as its common name might suggest but on fairly wet heaths, where it exhibits a clear sky-blue colour with white and grey or green streaks on the outside of the petals, and grey spots on the inside. Leaves are narrow linear. It is to be found very locally in places such as Dorset to East Sussex through to North East Yorks and Westmorland but is decreasing and makes a lovely garden plant if you can make it happy!
Seeds can be sown at any time but are best sown in winter or early spring to benefit from a cold spell in the wet compost to break their dormancy. We advise covering seeds very thinly with sand or fine grit to about the depth of the seed size. If the seeds do not come up within 6 to 12 weeks the damp seed tray can be given cold treatment in a fridge for about four weeks. They may still take very many months to appear, so please never discard the pot or tray.
Common name:Marsh gentian