Stoneflowers, Marmogentiana cruciata

The gentian plants, which are among the endangered species here, are of course an indispensable part of every pre-Alpine stone flower collection.


Since most Alpine gentians have five petals, but I had chosen a small marble block for the gentian that allowed a maximum of four leaves, I had to search a little before I found the right flower.

Finally however I found it with the cross gentian.

The distribution area of the cross gentian includes Europe (with the exception of Portugal, Great Britain and Scandinavia) and West Asia.


In Germany it occurs very scattered in the Alps, in the foothills of the Alps, in Lower Bavaria, rarely in the Weser Uplands, in the northern low mountain range, northeastern Brandenburg.

In the Allgäu Alps, it grows to an altitude of 1.700 meters.

In the Middle Ages, this species was particularly popular and became a symbol of salvation, since the leaf pairs, the flower crown, stem and root pulp are cruciform, and the trivial names also refer to this.


A Hungarian legend is about this type of plant.

The plague had broken out in the army of King Ladislaus the Holy. In a dream an angel appeared to the king and ordered him to shoot an arrow in the air. The herb on which the arrow would fall would heal the sick soldiers.

The next morning the arrow fell on the cross gentian and this is how the Hungarian name for this plant originated: Szent-Lászlo-Kiraly-füre (herb of the holy king Ladislaus).


Maybe we should give the trick with the arrow a shot (pun intended) when looking for a remedy for the new Coronavius.

Mountain Alcon Blue, © Carsten Siegel

Time and again when doing research for my stone flowers, I stumble across strange things, also in this case.

The cross gentian for example is the main host plant for a fairly specialized butterfly, the Mountain Alcon Blue (Phengaris rebeli).

This butterfly deposits its eggs almost exclusively on the cross gentian and also has some other interesting things to offer.

If you are interested in butterflies, discover more
here.

 

The cross gentian not only arouses the interest of the Mountain Alcon Blue, but as an endangered plant, also that of the Latvian Post, which recognized it on a stamp.

The subspecies Marmogentiana cruciata is not yet on the red list.

Nevertheless, its only specimen worldwide can only be visited in one place, the shelter in the art vault, where it lives in harmony with many other stone flowers.

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