Pictured above: Largeleaf rosegentian (Sabatia macrophylla) by Emily Bell. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.
Largeleaf rosegentian (Sabatia macrophylla) is a strikingly white wildflower that occurs in wetland savannas, wet pinelands and even roadside ditches in Florida’s Panhandle and northeast corner. Its erect stature and height (up to 4 ft tall) set it apart from other native white-flowered Sabatia species.
Individual flowers have five white petals and five white stamens that surround a pale-yellow pistil. They are born in terminal clusters from branched stems that are smooth and light green. The light green leaves are simple and lanceolate with a prominent mid-vein. They are erect to erecto-patent and oppositely arranged on the stem. The leaves and stems have a waxy texture that appears as a whitish film when wet.
The genus Sabatia is most likely a reference to Liberato Sabbati (1714–1778), an Italian botanist. The species epithet macrophylla is from the Greek makros, or “large,” and phyllon, or “leaf,” and along with the common descriptor, “largeleaf,” refers to the plant’s sizable leaves.
Family: Gentianaceae (Gentian Family)
Native range: Panhandle and northeast Florida
To see where natural populations of of Largeleaf rosegentian have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 8A–9A
Soil: Moist to wet sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: Up to 4 feet tall
Largeleaf rosegentian is not commercially available. Visit a natural area to see it.
For information on other Sabatia species, see these resources: