Gen"tian(jn"shn or jn"sh*n), n. [OE. genciane, F. gentiane, L. gentiana, fr. Gentius, an Illyrian king, said to have discovered its properties.] (Bot.) Any one of a genus (Gentiana) of herbaceous plants with opposite leaves and a tubular four- or five-lobed corolla, usually blue, but sometimes white, yellow, or red. See Illust. of Capsule.
Many species are found on the highest mountains of Europe, Asia, and America, and some are prized for their beauty, as the Alpine (Gentiana verna, Gentiana Bavarica, and Gentiana excisa), and the American fringed gentians (Gentiana crinita and Gentiana detonsa). Several are used as tonics, especially the bitter roots of Gentiana lutea, the officinal gentian of the pharmacopoeias.
Horse gentian, fever root. --
(Bot.), the officinal gentian (Gentiana lutea). See Bitterwort.
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