PLANTS: Annual, biennial, or perennial herbs. STEMS: l-several, simple or sparsely branched. LEAVES: opposite, sessile, often gradually reduced and scale-like below, rarely forming a basal rosette. FLOWERS: sessile or pedicellate, solitary or in open or congested cymes; calyx of (4-)5(-6) sepals, the lobes minute to well developed, the tube usually with an intracalycine membrane around the upper rim; corolla marcescent, (4-)5(-6)-lobed, funnelform, cylindric, fusiform, or campanulate, the lobes large and prominent to obsolete, the tube with plicate appendages (plicae) between the lobes, these entire or variously toothed or divided; stamens (4-)5(-6); pistil stipitate or sessile with glands at the base. FRUIT: a capsule protruding from or included in the marcescent corolla. SEEDS: numerous, usually with a marginal wing. NOTES: Ca. 200 spp; world-wide, most common in montane areas of the n hemisphere. (For Gentius, King of Illyria). REFERENCES: Mason, Charles T. 1998 Gentianaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 30(2): 84.