Horse Gentian (Triosteum perfoliatum)

Horse Gentian:
Its Flowers Hug the Stem

By William T. Hathaway

There was this fairly-tall, leafy plant that kept attracting my attention; from the distance I could see no flowers. After my third hike down the old railroad tracks in the southern part of Pittsylvania County, I decided to investigate the nearby mystery plant.

A close look at the plant solved the question — there were strange-looking flowers hugging the stem at the base of large leaves joined at their leaf base. This plant turned out to be the Horse Gentian (Triosteum perfoliatum). I later was surprised to read that this was a member of the Honeysuckle Family.

Of course, this photo added to the colorful variety of my wildflower specimens. (Also see this illustration in larger format).