Bohemian Early Gentian

Gentianella praecox subsp. bohemica

Bohemian Early Gentian is a living example of how a relatively common species can become a critically endangered one and get on the verge of extinction in not even a whole century. This subendemic species of the Czech Republic occurred in the past sporadically almost everywhere in the country, in hundreds of sites: over 650 stations have been reliably documented. In the years 2000-2007 this species was recorded in only 65 sites. In most of these areas the flowering specimens occur very irregularly and often only in small number of individuals.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Bohemian Early Gentian (Gentianella praecox bohemica) still occurred relatively abundantly in the entire Czech Republic except for western and north-western Bohemia and south-eastern and eastern Moravia. As a result of changes in the habitat management – abandonment of grazing and regular mowing, ploughing meadows and pastures, eutrophication of habitats, invasion of bushes etc. – the plant has been gradually disappearing in wild: currently its occurrence is limited to only 65 sites, most of them in Šumava (Bohemian Forest) and in the Šumava-Nové Hrady foothills.

Photo: A. Klaudisová.Besides the Czech Republic, which is the center of this species´ range, the Bohemian Early Gentian also grows in Austria, Germany and Poland, but also there a long-term decline has been recorded. The Bohemian Early Gentian is a typical species of meadows and pastures but also grows in light wood fringes and on sunny balks, from uplands to mountains.

The species belongs – according to the Regulation 395/1992 – to critically endangered species of our flora, and as such is listed in the Czech Black and Red List of Vascular Plants (Procházka 2001).

At international level, the species is included in the IUCN Red List in category R (rare) and is also included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EHS.

Currently an Action Plan for this species is being prepared.


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